Assemblyman Magnarelli: Measure to Lower Cost-of-Living for Seniors Becomes Law

New law raises income eligibility level for tax relief

The governor has signed legislation I supported that increases income eligibility for the "Over 65" property tax exemption to $24,000 (A.8930-A). Increasing income eligibility levels for programs like the ‘Over 65’ tax exemption will help more seniors afford to stay in their homes and communities.

The law allows localities to increase the maximum income level up to $24,000 from $21,500 for a 50 percent property tax exemption from municipal and school district taxes. Localities may also grant an exemption of less than 50% to senior citizens whose incomes exceed the local income limit. For example, in a community that has taken this "sliding-scale" option and adopts the $24,000 income maximum, an eligible resident whose income is more than $24,000 but less than $25,000, is entitled to a 45 percent exemption. Those making the maximum income level of up to $32,400 would be eligible for a 5 percent exemption.

A related measure also signed by the governor increases the income ceiling for persons with disabilities to qualify for this tax break to $24,000 (A.2439-A).

I’m committed to helping seniors – who have worked so hard all their lives – maintain their independence and enjoy their retirement. Each year, seniors who receive cost-of-living increases in their pensions and social security benefits risk losing their ‘Over 65’ tax exemption eligibility. By increasing the eligibility limit, participating seniors and those with disabilities can continue saving money.

The measure is part of my ongoing effort to help lower the cost of living for seniors and those with disabilities. This year, the Assembly enacted a bipartisan budget that prevented an average 20 percent property tax hike – the largest in state history – and rejected a proposal to freeze STAR. Enhanced STAR can reduce school property taxes an average of 60 percent ($970) a year for eligible Onondaga County homeowners 65 and over with incomes up to $62,000.

The Assembly also passed a law I supported which would increase income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (Ch. 382 of 2003).

For more information or to apply for the "Over 65" property tax exemption, go to or contact your local assessor.

For information on applying for the exemption for those with disabilities, go online to