Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
Residents in the Mineola School District may or may not need to pony up more in taxes as a result of a proposed exemption for veterans. Across New York State, school districts are being met with this special exemption, which provides three tiers of tax breaks based on whether or not they are a veteran, saw combat or suffered a disability. It’s possible to qualify for all three.
While a similar exemption already exists at the county level, the state left individual school districts to decide if it would be in the best interest of the taxpaying community.
Members of the Mineola School District Board of Education would have to approve the exemption during a public hearing, but no hearing has been confirmed. If they elect to deny the exemption, a hearing is not needed.
“I have quite a bit of [literature] on that,” Mineola School Board President Artie Barnett said. “It has been recommended to the school boards to hold off until they can rectify some language in the law. If we were to grant an exemption, there was no way out of it or to adjust it afterwards.”
Mineola resident Sal Thomas, who served in Iraq in 2004-05, is in favor of the exemption.
“I think it’s such a challenge with the cost of living, especially in Long Island,” he said. “With this exemption, it would greatly help veterans who want to come back to where they grew up and raise a family.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Nagler said the tax tiers can cause changes in alloted exemptions.
“Every tier changes the dollar amount,” he said. “It’s a bigger exemption if you were in combat or are a Gold Star parent (lost someone in combat). There’s a lot of pieces to it that can change the number.”
Any impact to school taxes as a result of the exemption, would need to be picked up by non-veteran taxpayers. As a result, residents who are ineligible for this tax exemption, will need to pay more per household. District officials said they could not release numbers because the school board did not officially discuss it in a hearing.
The state deadline to enact the exemption for this tax season is March 15.
“We’ve definitely been having some internal discussions on it,” Barnett said.