3 property tax bills up for hearing Wednesday
From: Delaware Live
Three bills that would raise real estate tax credits are on the docket for the Delaware House of Representatives Education Committee.
With the state now projected to have a surplus of nearly $1 billion – the third year in a row for such extraordinary income – a Democrat and a Republic representative are moving to give older residents a bigger tax break.
The committee will meet Wednesday at 3 p.m., its first convening of the 152nd Delaware General Assembly. Livestream it here.
In Delaware, residents who are 65 and older are eligible to receive this tax credit on the amount they pay in school taxes.
The state reimburses local school districts for any loss of income resulting from the credit.
Up until 2017, this tax credit was $500 annually. To fill a significant budget hole that year, the tax credit was reduced by $100, according to Stephanie Becker, communications officer for the Delaware House of Representatives.
Three bills related to the credits have been filed by Rep. Bill Bush, D-Dover, and Rep. Kevin Hensley, R-Odessa.
Here’s what they say:
Sponsored by Hensley, this bill would increase the Senior Real Property Tax credit to $750 from $400.
Becker said Hensley and many of his colleagues believed the 2017 cut would be only a temporary fix.
“Once revenue projections rebounded and the state’s financial situation improved, one of the first things we would make good on was restoring the tax credit to its original amount,” she said.
Because of their life-long contributions, no group of citizens has collectively paid more taxes than Delaware’s seniors, Hensley said in a statement.
A member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which writes the state budget, Hensley pointed out that Delaware appears to once again be in a position of getting a hefty surplus.
He is among the Republicans who believe that the state’s windfall should mean a break for those who pay taxes instead of all being plowed into state projects.
Sponsored by Bush, this bill would increase the Senior Real Property Tax credit from $400 to $500 for seniors who have resided in Delaware for 10 years.
“Rep. Hensely’s bill goes a bit further in raising the credit from $400 to $750,” Becker said. “Both bills will be debated this legislative session and a determination will be made on how much – if any – of a tax credit should be given to Delaware senior citizens.”
For seniors who have held residency in Delaware for more than three years but less than 10 years, the maximum credit authorized, via local school board vote, will be either a 50% of the tax collected or $400, whichever is a lesser amount.
Residents who are 65 and older and have lived in the First State for at least a decade will receive a 50% credit, or $500, again the lesser amount.
Introduced by Bush, this bill would remove the three-year residency requirement to qualify for the Disabled Veteran Tax credit.
The exemption would mean that the First State’s disabled veterans receive a full tax credit of their non-vocational school district property tax.
The bill defines disabled veterans as someone who receives 100% disability compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its successor agency due to a service-connected, permanent and total disability based on unemployability, or a 100% disability rating.
Under the new bill, those who have permanent residence in Delaware would automatically qualify, rather than needing three years of residence.
Those who have seasonal or temporary residence, or who are out of the state for a period of at least a year would not qualify for the tax credit.