COLUMN: Enacting Tax Relief for Seniors

On Monday night, the City Council voted in favor of my proposal to adopt a 10% residential tax exemption for qualifying senior citizens who own and occupy their homes.

Under State Law, this proposal now goes to voters for approval as a ballot question in the regularly scheduled November election. I urge residents to vote in favor of this initiative.

Since taking office, I’ve worked to identify options to help residents cope with the cost-of-living increases that are pinching the entire Boston region. After doing due diligence, this is a good first step to take.

The real estate market is red hot in Revere right now, and property values continue to increase. As we improve city services, revitalize the city’s economy, and continue to earn plaudits for our outstanding school system, this trend is likely to continue, which is mostly good news for Revere.

But for the most vulnerable in our community who are on fixed incomes, increasing property values are a double-edged sword.

The residents who most feel this pinch are senior citizens. That’s why we’re targeting this first stage of relief to seniors.

Adopting this measure - known as “Clause 41 ½ C” - moves us in the direction of a citywide 10% tax exemption for owner-occupied properties. This is a good policy not only because it helps provide relief for residents, but also because it encourages owner-occupancy. That’s good for our community.

As with any policy, we want to make sure we get this right. The City of Boston recently discovered that thousands of residency exemptions were given to owners who should not have qualified, due to problems with verifying eligibility. This not only cost Boston significant revenue, it also decreased the benefit of the exemption for residents who did rightfully qualify.

Adopting a residential tax exemption for seniors gives us an opportunity to get a verification system in place and make sure it works. Additionally, when we adopt a citywide owner-occupied tax exemption, 41 ½ C would still exist - providing an additional benefit for seniors.

Now that the Council has voted to approve this measure, Revere residents will have their opportunity to weigh in on this policy at the ballot in November. Between now and November, I will be urging residents to vote yes; this will be a positive step toward helping residents stay in their homes and encouraging owner-occupancy.

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  • published this page in News 2017-06-21 08:32:05 -0400
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