VeteransEvery veteran of the U.S. armed forces deserves our gratitude, especially those who have served in combat or been injured in the line of duty.  And our gratitude should be expressed through more than just words.

That’s why it’s important to fund programs that provide for Veterans’ physical and mental health, assist with transition to civilian life, and otherwise demonstrate a commitment to challenges after military service.  That’s also why New York State enables municipalities to provide a property tax break for Veterans.

New Rochelle has long participated in this State program at a 50% level.  That is, we have offered half of the maximum tax break allowed by law.  This amounts to a few hundred dollars a year in savings for those eligible.

A couple of months ago, I received a visit in my office from a local Veteran names Bruce Geiger, who wondered why New Rochelle didn’t offer the full allowable benefit.  I checked into it and couldn’t find any good reason, other than past practice.  So at my suggestion, the City Council voted this month to raise New Rochelle’s exemption to the full amount allowed by the State.

There’s no free lunch, and this change will mean an additional cost of about $11 per year for other taxpayers, but I think that’s a pretty reasonable way to reward those who have sacrificed for our country.