Committee votes to increase property tax credit for seniors – Town Square Delaware LIVE

The commission responsible for drawing up the state budget voted to restore the senior property tax credit to its pre-2017 level.

The credit was reduced from $500 to $400 per year in 2017 in an effort to cover a budget shortfall that year.

Currently, the program allows property owners aged 65 and over to claim a tax credit on regular school property taxes of 50%, up to a maximum of $400. Those who moved to Delaware after January 1, 2018 must reside in the state for 10 years to be eligible for the credit. The tax credit can only be used to reduce property taxes on a principal residence.

Tuesday’s vote is the first step toward increasing that credit to $500.

“For many seniors across the state, an extra $100 can mean the difference in paying for a utility bill, groceries or even prescription drugs,” said Rep. Kim Williams, D-Stanton. “Given our current budget situation, this is the right thing to do to provide seniors with a little extra financial support.

According to the Department of Finance, in fiscal year 2021, more than 70,000 homeowners received the seniors’ property tax credit, averaging about $340 each.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear this great news,” said Rep. Mike Ramone, R-Hockessin. “I have been fighting for credit repair for several years now and, finally being able to tell our seniors that financial help is available to them, it is worth it.”

The joint finance committee approved the increase during the “gross-up,” a period during which the committee takes the governor’s recommended budget and votes on specific funding requests.

The committee will continue to review and vote on funding priorities for the fiscal year 2023 operating budget this week.

Once completed, the Legislative Budget staff will draft the final budget bill, which must be approved by the full General Assembly.

Penny D. Jackson