SOUTHINGTON – A town committee is considering more property tax breaks for the elderly and disabled.
The Town Council formed the tax relief committee last year and charged it with considering how to make property taxes less onerous for vulnerable residents and veterans.
Chris Poulos, a council Democrat and committee member, said the group examined state statutes for additional ways to provide tax relief for residents. Towns can only use tax break programs created by the General Assembly.
The most significant change would be lowering the age requirement for a state program that allows a tax credit of up to $1,250 for seniors. Poulos said the committee will consider dropping the age from 70 to 65 but can’t take action until May due to state timelines within the statute.
At that time, the group will also consider adding $250 to the maximum tax credit and changing the income requirements.
“I’m hopeful that we will be able to offer a program that appropriately addresses the needs of the elderly and disabled residents,” Poulos said.
Nearly 600 residents currently use the state tax credit program. While the state used to help reimburse the town for the more than $300,000 lost in tax revenue, Poulos said Connecticut no longer does so.
The committee also voted to recommend an additional benefit for the elderly and disabled that would take $1,000 off the assessed value of a home. There’s already a program to lower the assessment by $1,000.
Town Council Chairman Chris Palmieri said tax relief was part of the Democrats’ platform during the municipal elections in 2017. He formed the tax relief committee last year.
“We always hear from seniors” at budget hearings, Palmieri said. “They’ll tell us that they’re not necessarily opposed to funding things that we need but they just can’t afford it.”
Poulos wasn’t sure when that would go to the council for a vote or if it would be combined with other tax relief recommendations in the spring.
The group considered veterans tax programs and found that the income limits were the highest in the region and of similar-sized towns. Poulos said the committee wanted to keep those as they were.
“We were by far the leader in all the towns we looked at. We were well above what the income limits were,” he said. “We were proud to be a leader for the tax relief we’re providing for vets.”
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