Senate Democrats Vote to Send Seniors Packing

CONCORD, NH - - Today, Senate democrats voted against property tax relief for the elderly.  SB 186, sponsored by State Senator Ted Gatsas (R-Manchester) and eight other Senate Republicans established a state elderly homeowner property tax credit.  The bill, as introduced, would give between $200 to $800 in property tax relief annually based on age and income.  Senate democrats amended the bill to eliminate funding, opting to study the issue instead.

Senator Ted Gatsas began, “Our seniors are our most valuable resource in the State of New Hampshire.  Our Seniors are in trouble; they are losing the homes they spent their lifetime building and being forced into nursing homes.”  The Department of Health and Human Services has stated that keeping seniors in their homes is a cost effective measure as opposed to moving them into nursing homes.  Gatsas continued, “as legislators, it’s our obligation to protect seniors; today this means providing property tax relief and keeping seniors in their home.”

Senator Bob Clegg (R-Hudson) added, “It’s deplorable that Senate democrats failed to see the importance of keeping seniors in their homes.  This one piece of legislation would be a lifeline for hundreds of seniors in the State of New Hampshire while at the same time it would provide property tax relief to the local taxpayer.”  SB 186 would give seniors the option to take the property tax exemption or the local property tax exemption, but not both.  Further, the proposed exemption would allow seniors to qualify for property tax relief they may not otherwise be eligible for at the local level.  “Instead of giving seniors the option to stay in their homes, Senate democrats voted to send seniors packing when refusing to pass meaningful legislation that will literally preserve the quality of life for our elderly,” ended Clegg.

Senate Republicans offered the original bill as an amendment to the full Senate; it was rejected on a partisan vote of 13-10.  Senate Bill186 passed the Senate as amended (making it a study committee) by a vote of 23-0.  “It’s unfortunate the Senate democrats feel that New Hampshire seniors have been reduced to a partisan political issue.  In the time it takes to study this issue more seniors will be forced out of their homes because of their inability to pay property tax bills,” concluded Gatsas.