Dutchess lawmakers increase veteran tax exemption

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The timing could not have been any more perfect. On the eve of Veterans Day, the Dutchess County Legislature Monday night unanimously passed two local laws to increase the real property tax exemption currently enjoyed by qualifying veterans in Dutchess County.

One law addressed the exemption for Cold War veterans, and the other addressed the standard veteran exemption, legally termed the “Alternative Veteran” exemption. Both exemptions are provided for under state real property tax law, which enables counties to set veteran tax exemption levels.

The Dutchess Cold War vet exemption was introduced in 2007 and has never been raised. The Alternative exemption, introduced in 1985, has not been raised since 2005.

Inflation has dramatically impacted the value of a dollar since 2005 and 2007. Although the nominal value of these exemptions stayed the same throughout the years, their actual impact deceased year over year because of economic inflation. With these laws, the legislature works to fight the effects of inflation on our residents, and demonstrates its willingness to help our veterans, who have done much to benefit both Dutchess County and our nation as a whole by their military service.

Both laws provide for a staggered increase in the exemption level, with the initial increase to apply as soon as the next tax rolls are prepared, and the second increase to take effect on the tax rolls two years afterward, in 2025.

This two-part, staggered increase is intended to minimize fiscal impact on county finances and ensure that our veterans will retain their financial benefit into the future.

Approximately 8,807 residents enjoy the Alternative Veterans Exemption, and 846 enjoy the Cold War Exemption. Both categories will see this exemption increase apply to their property taxes beginning in 2024, in keeping with the Dutchess County tax roll process.

“This law is a great idea, and will provide a much-needed adjustment to our veteran tax exemptions,” said Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver. “We’ve had these exemptions for years, but as inflation continues to take a toll on our economy we have to ensure they continue to have an impact. If we did nothing, eventually inflation would make these exemptions lose all practical value.”