Senior exemption change deleted

A proposed change in Alaska’s senior exemption on property taxes has been deleted from Senate Bill 210 by the Senate Finance Committee. 

In his weekly newsletter, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, announced the committee deleted language which moved exemptions for seniors and disabled military veterans from the mandatory property tax exemption list to the optional municipality list. Under current law, the state makes mandatory a $150,000 exemption on property tax assessments for qualifying seniors age 65 and older and disabled vets.

SB 210 would have removed that state mandate and given power to municipalities to delete or lower the exemption. 

The bill still stands and includes provisions that would change how municipalities receive revenue sharing. Under the bill, Homer would receive $190,000 in state revenue sharing for the next two years and $130,000 for 2018 and nothing in 2019, Homer City Manager Katie Koester told the city council on Monday.

The Homer City Council passed and Homer Mayor Beth Wythe signed a resolution last December urging the Alaska Legislature to end the state mandate for senior exemptions. 

Seaton introduced a bill in the House to remove the mandate, but it failed to advance out of committee. In Homer about $61 million in assessed property value owned by seniors is exempt, costing the city about $275,000 in lost property taxes.