Yonkers City Council Passes First Local Law Under President McLaughlin

Hezi Aris Governance 9 Comments

School Tax Relief for Vets 

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A standing ovation erupted through the Yonkers City Council chamber when on February 25th, the Council passed a bill sponsored by Council President Liam J. McLaughlin that expanded the alternative veteran’s property tax exemption. The bill, which was McLaughlin’s first local law since becoming Council President, passed unanimously, and makes Yonkers the first community in Westchester and the major city in the state to offer this benefit, and was supported by representatives from sixteen of Yonkers veterans organizations who are pictured above.

YONKERS, NYThe City of Yonkers became the first major city in New York State last week to offer a school tax exemption for veterans, since Governor Cuomo signed the law authorizing the local option in December. City Council President Liam J. McLaughlin sponsored the bill, which added school taxes to the alternative veteran’s property tax exemption offered by the City.

“I think I speak for many people when I say we are in awe of what our veterans did, putting their lives on the line for this country,” McLaughlin said. “I’m very proud that my first local law as Council President is one that can help this City show that we love and respect our veterans, and provide needed tax relief to those who both need and deserve it the most.”

Council President McLaughlin immediately signed the law, making Yonkers the first community in Westchester to provide this benefit to veterans. “I hope other communities throughout the state will follow Yonkers lead in passing tax relief for veterans,” he said.

“My father was a Marine who instilled in us the value that it is not enough to simply think of veterans on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day,” Mayor Mike Spano said. “Rather, we should thank and honor those brave men and women who selflessly served our country year round. This bill is a small token in that effort, and I thank Council President McLaughlin for sponsoring it.”

Following passage of a law by the state legislature in December, the City was given the opportunity to offer the school tax exemption as part of the existing 458-a veteran’s alternative property tax exemption. Over 1,200 veterans, many of whom are disabled and live on fixed incomes, utilize the existing exemption, which previously only applied to school taxes.

Majority Leader John Larkin said, “I often see how people will praise and thank veterans on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. This bill is a way for the Council to prove that we believe what we say and that what we say is what we do. In this instance it’s a small gesture, but it’s a gesture that says to our veterans that we appreciate their sacrifice in keeping our country safe and free.”

The alternative property tax exemption includes a 15 percent reduced in assessment value for veterans who served during a time of war, an additional 10 percent for those who were in combat zones, plus another additional reduction for veterans with a disability rating from the VA and will now apply to both municipal and school taxes following passage of McLaughlin’s bill. These are the maximum allowable by law. The City also has opted-in to the special Cold War Veterans property tax exemption as well the one for Gold Star families.

John Spencer, former mayor and chairman of the Central Committee of Veterans Organizations in Yonkers, said that Yonkers has led the way as a municipality by passing this enabling legislation from the State to help veterans. “I give Council President McLaughlin so much credit, because if you want to talk about revenue and expenses, our veterans wrote a blank check to the United States for a price up to and including their lives,” he said.

“That’s who you’re helping with this,” Spencer said. “On behalf of all the veterans I represent as the chairman of the central committee of sixteen organizations, we admire the City Council for its courage in passing this. They are doing the right thing for the veterans of this city.

Minority Leader Michael Sabatino said, “What amazes me is that for those who have fought in battle, most of them never feel compelled to actually complain about what they have gone through. That is very admirable, and this bill is a small token showing the Council’s and the City’s appreciation for their service.”

Councilmember Christopher Johnson said, “I am excited that we get an opportunity as a Council to do something meaningful for our veterans. While it is something simple, it goes a long way in recognizing their service. This is not about money, it is about acknowledging the commitment and sacrifice of our brave veterans.”

Councilmember Corazon Pineda said, “This bill shows our veterans that we appreciate the work that you’ve done for us and your sacrifice. This is just a small token of appreciation where we as a Council can have a direct impact on your lives and say thank you for your service to our country.”

Councilmember Dennis Shepherd said, “When I think about veterans, I cannot think of a more courageous, modest group of individuals. We should thank them each and every day from the bottom of our hearts for stepping up to the plate for us. This bill is a small way for the City Council to step up for them.”

Councilmember Mike Breen said, “This bill is giving veterans a rebate on all that they sacrificed when they could have been stateside, working at a job that provided more of a normal income. Hopefully it will convince even more veterans to move to Yonkers.”

The bill passed the Council by a unanimous 7-0 vote. Louis Navarro, director of the Yonkers Veterans Service Agency, said “On behalf of the veterans of the City of Yonkers, I want to speak on their behalf in thanking both our Republicans and Democrats for taking such a courageous step.”

Current and former service members who are interested in applying for the veteran’s alternative tax exemption must file an application with the city assessor. For more information on this and other veterans programs, contact the Yonkers Department of Veteran’s Affairs at (914) 377 – 6700.

SOURCE: Communications Office of Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin,

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Hezi ArisYonkers City Council Passes First Local Law Under President McLaughlin

Comments 9

  1. Rambo

    Well, like I predicted, Spencer is back in the news and pulling strings!

    Voting for that self serving little prick Carrot Top was like voting Spencer back into the viper pit.

    Not to sound cynical, but I wonder how many veterans are related to these political hacks that will benefit from this?

    I wonder how Carrot Top and Hiccup Johnny will benefit from this Bill.

    Don’t get me wrong, I always support our veterans (Lord knows our Government continually abandons them) it’s just that I question the motives behind this Bill from the ass hat(s) who pushed it.

    I have no problem with any form of relief for our Vets!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you think for one second that the Evil Red Head or the Drunk cares about anything besides themselves, you are sadly mistaken!

    Bread and circuses.

    This veteran’s tax break will not take effect until 2015.

  2. Service

    To Eastsider: where were your outrage when the COY spent millions upon millions of your taxpayer money for the ballpark that never came to fruition?

  3. Broke

    Veteran benefits should be paid at the federal level, not the local level. It is shame that if veterans are forced to wait long periods of time for treatment or proper care. Wounded veterans should get priority for whatever care they may need. The federal govt collects more than what it needs to take care of returning veterans, just stop giving all the aid we give to foreign countries, some of which hate us! Take care of all our own problems before we start taking care of other countries people.

  4. westside........NOT EASTSIDE

    I would like to clarify I am not a veteran of any branch of the military service . I would like to say thank you yonkers veterans who served bravely with dignity and honor. your nation is grateful and so am I . the fact that you are getting a well deserved tax break for your contribution to this wonderful great society you helped defend is long over due and a small token of appreciation from ALL who enjoy its bounties.there are several hundred names on various plaques and monuments around this city whom, I wish could enjoy the same benefits . unfortunately they cant . THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN

  5. perry marchigiani

    thank you city of yonkers. yes I am a vet.and live in the city of yonkers. and thank you my comer. of combat post vfw #375. and to mr lou at the va city of yonkers. you are the best. your brother for life. perry.abn/cib.

  6. Service

    RE the comment from the eastside-Here are some of the outstanding benefits that the federal gov’t gives to its veterans: long waiting periods to get an appt to the VA hospital,even longer waiting periods to process your claims, PTSD, many come home missing various parts of their body, Agent Orange which the federal gov’t denied & then fought veteran’s tooth & nail in order not to pay their claims,high rate of unemployment& suicides, approximately 1/3 of all homeless males on any given night are veteran’s,lip service & political posturing from local, state & federal pols the majority who never served, political pandering & bickering amongst the pols in Washington to either stall or deny adequate funding for vets. These are just a few of the “handsomely bnefits from people in Washington .the politically expedient saying “Thank you for service” yet the very same pols at the local, state & federal levels make sure that their friends get the fews jobs & assistane that is available first but make sure that their photo-ops & politcal soundbites are there so that they can say at election time that they support vets which in most cases but not all is simply false. In closing just go back to when the brave men and women came back from Vietnam and remember how the United States of America turned their backs on the returning Vietnam vets& Mr Eastsider I have lived on the eastside for over 65 years.

  7. East Sider

    I have nothing against veterans, but thus is not about thanking them for their service. They get rewarded handsomely with federal benefits already. Since this money has to be made up from what the rest of the taxpayers have to pay why not have the city council pay for it out of their salaries, since they feel the need to give away our tax money.

  8. Senior Veterans

    Thank you Liam and all of the city council. I finally feel proud to have served for my country (Vietnam war) AND live in the city of Yonkers.

  9. Pandering Piggy

    The real Headline: Pandering pres puts platitudes for patriots in play. What a needless and self aggrandizing ploy. Put his puppet master Spencer in the spotlight and give away more city money. typical of what will be here over the next 3+ years. What a pandering loser.

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