Five school districts in Erie County (Alden, Tonawanda City, Depew, Grand Island and Maryvale) and one in Niagara (North Tonawanda) are putting non-binding, advisory propositions before voters May 19 on giving tax exemptions for veterans.
It's a tricky issue for school boards who are eager to help their community's veterans, but also know that it puts more of a tax burden on other residents.
The Buffalo News' Barbara O'Brien took a look at the issue earlier this year as other districts took up the exemption.
Here's an excerpt:
...thanks to legislation passed and signed in December 2013, school districts can offer a tax exemption to wartime veterans – the same tax exemption program that has been offered by counties, towns and villages for at least 25 years.
“Everybody agrees that we would be hard pressed to find any group we would want to show appreciation to more than veterans who serve our country,” said Jane Burzynski, executive director of the Erie County School Boards Association.
But that means someone else picks up the tab.
“When you give a break to a certain component, that burden then goes onto the rest of the community,” Burzynski said. “I think that’s the huge concern at this point.”