Delaware Public Media

Some First State seniors could lose property tax credit

Jul 6, 2018

Delaware seniors with higher incomes could soon lose a property tax break.

The legislation is on Gov. John Carney’s (D) desk.

The property tax break currently gives senior citizens aged 65 years and older a credit of up to $400.

But the General Assembly passed legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Kim Williams (D-Newport), limiting it to those making less than $50,000 a year or couples earning less than $100,000 a year.

Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) said because in some cases a married couple can still get a maximum of $200 by filing separately undermines the attempt to ensure only low-income seniors benefit. That's true in cases where where one partner is eligible for the credit and other is not.

“You’ve got a family that’s earning perhaps $200,000," he said. "That doesn’t seem like it’s being truly mean tested by this line on the amendment.”

State Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington), who created the tax rebate in 1999, said he somewhat reluctantly supports the legislation.

“It is now looked at that it would be perhaps better to have it a means-tested benefit and I’m ok with that," he said. "And I think that if you’re up over a certain limit you can do without it.”

If Carney signs it into law, the change wouldn't take effect until January 2021.