State budget writers have voted to fully restore a property tax break for older Delawareans.
The Joint Finance Committee voted to increase the senior property tax credit from $400 to $500, restoring it to its pre-2017 level. The credit was cut by $100 as part of an effort to close a budget shortfall that year.
Lawmakers of both parties have advocated for restoring the tax credit to $500, but this is the first attempt to make its way into the operating budget.
Under the program, homeowners age 65 or over are eligible for a tax credit against regular school property taxes of 50%, up to $400. Those who moved to Delaware after January 1, 2018, must reside in the state for 10 years to be eligible for the credit. The tax credit may only be used against property taxes on a primary residence.”
According to the Department of Finance, in fiscal 2021, more than 70,000 property owners received the senior property tax credit, which averaged around $340.
The vote to approve the tax credit increase took place during markup, a period when the committee takes the governor’s recommended budget and begins voting on specific funding requests, essentially writing the budget.
The Joint Finance Committee will continue reviewing and voting on funding priorities for the fiscal 2023 operating budget this week. Once completed, legislative budget staff will write the final budget bill, which must be approved by the entire General Assembly by the end of June.
The measure was part of a GOP package of corporate and individual tax cut proposals. Nearly all failed to gain traction in a House and Senate where Democrats have a sizable majority.