Seniors could see tax relief |

Seniors could see tax relief

Brendan Riley

CARSON CITY – A measure expanding a state program that provides property tax relief to Nevada seniors won approval Wednesday in a Senate committee.

SB72, approved by the Human Resources and Education Committee, was described by Sen. Dina Titus, as “a little piece that we can do in the whole property tax reform debate.”

“This shows the public that we are trying to do something about property taxes even though the big solution remains elusive,” Titus, D-Las Vegas, said following the committee’s vote for SB72, which she and 19 other members of the 21-member Senate sponsored.

The measure increases the maximum tax rebate that qualifying seniors can get from $500 to $1,000. Titus noted the amount hadn’t been changed since 1979.

Also, the bill increases the assessed value of a home that would qualify from $87,500 to $120,000; and increases total liquid assets of an applicant from $150,000 to $205,000.

The maximum annual income of a senior applying for the tax break remains at $24,016 a year. However, Titus said she may try later to increase that figure.

“A lot of people would like to raise the income, but I didn’t want to push my luck,” in the Senate committee, Titus said.

Several witnesses spoke in favor of the bill, including retiree Joetta Brown of Gardnerville who said, “I thought the golden years were going to golden, and I’m looking for them now because taxation has really placed a burden on retirees.”

Legislators are under a deadline to quickly get an overall property tax relief plan in place so that assessors can complete their job of readying tax bills for the coming fiscal year.

A major concern is that without relief, voters will approve a plan similar to California’s Proposition 13, which rolled back and capped taxes.

The lawmakers’ job has been complicated by a preliminary legal analysis that a tax cap could violate a requirement in the Nevada Constitution for uniform and equal property taxes.

However, Titus said her SB72 presents no constitutional questions.

Senate Taxation Chairman Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said Tuesday he remains confident that legislators could come up with an overall relief plan by the end of the month.

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