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Suffolk approves property tax exemption for ‘cold war’ vets

The seal of the Suffolk County Legislature in

The seal of the Suffolk County Legislature in the lobby of the legislature building in Hauppauge on Aug. 14, 2012. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Suffolk Legislature Friday approved an emergency resolution to extend for a decade county property tax exemptions for so-called “Cold War” veterans who served between military conflicts.

The legislature voted 14-0 in favor of the extension which was due to expire March 1. Officials said about 4,000 veterans currently receive the benefit and will continue to qualify for it.

Before the vote, Mike Pankowski, Suffolk commander of American Legion, said, “Everyone says they want to help the veterans and in the next few minutes you can prove it.”

Eight of 10 towns have already extended the exemptions, said Legis. Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills), chair of the seniors and veteran’s committee and sponsor of the resolution. Berland said that Brookhaven and Huntington are expected to act on an extension soon.

Under the state law, which localities have the option to adopt, Cold War veterans are eligible to get a 15 percent reduction in the assessed value of their property, though the assessment reduction is capped at a maximum of $54,000. Disabled Cold War veterans are eligible for a higher exemption connected to their disability rating, but it cannot exceed $180,000.

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