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Nassau moves to increase tax savings for veterans

Despite a political tug-of-war over who gets the credit, Nassau's Cold War veterans could get a hike in property tax savings if the county legislature opts into a recent state law allowing it.

Eligible Cold War veterans must have served on active duty between Sept. 2, 1945, and Dec. 26, 1991, and not received any regular veterans exemption before the 2009 tax year.

Leg. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) said Friday at a news conference he held at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Eisenhower Park that such veterans who were first made eligible for an exemption in 2008 would see the average savings jump from about $21 to $94. "That's a significant savings for these veterans," he said, adding that it is his bill that will go before a legislative committee on June 14.

Denenberg asked Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) to put the proposal on an upcoming legislative agenda. But his request hit a snag when Schmitt said he would put his own bill before lawmakers because Denenberg's did not have a budget cost analysis. Schmitt said he got an analysis and saw that any cost to the county would be minimal.

"I have offered the Democrats the opportunity to co-sponsor the bill, something they never did on any significant legislation in their 10 years in the majority," he added.

Denenberg, who offered the first bill to opt into the first state law in 2008 when he was a majority member, said: "I understand that the entire legislature will be named on this bill, so Peter can say it's his bill. I'm just happy that we're going to do it."

Denenberg added that 1,790 people have already taken the exemption and that more than 20,000 are eligible for it in the county.

The Suffolk County Legislature opted into the law on May 12.

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