Putnam Approves Tax Break for Cold War Vets

Those who served between 1945 and 1991 get boost

By Holly Crocco

Putnam legislators on Feb. 7 unanimously approved a change to the county code that will quadruple a tax exemption for U.S. veterans who served during the Cold War.

Veterans who served between September 1945 and December 1991 may subtract as much as $54,000 from the assessed value of their property (up from $12,000), or $180,000 if they are disabled (up from $40,000). Practically, for a veteran who is not disabled, the annual savings will be about $166, up from $37.

About 360 non-disabled and 15 disabled Cold War veterans in the county are eligible for the exemption, said Lisa Johnson, director of real property, during a prior Audit Committee meeting. Johnson said the change will result in a shift of about $54,000 to the owners of the county’s other 40,000 parcels, who collectively pay $41 million in taxes, so the impact will be minimal.

Cold War veterans registered with the county will see the exemption in their next tax bill in January, according to Johnson. She said that she expected many municipalities and school districts in the county will adopt the same exemption.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in September allowing school districts to offer a Cold War exemption, which is designed to raise benefits to veterans who did not serve during a period of conflict to the same level as those who did. While Vietnam veterans served during the period, many are already covered under another exemption for those who served during a conflict.

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