D.C.

Elderly D.C. residents shouldn't pay property tax, Bonds proposes

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A new proposal in D.C. is being floated that would allow some elderly residents to pay no property taxes at all.

Newly elected council member Anita Bonds plans to propose that D.C. homeowners 80 and older pay no tax on their homes, provided they've lived in the city at least 25 years and earn less than $100,000 per year.

The possibility of a such an exemption is particularly important in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, where people moved to work for the federal government decades and bought a house, but in recent years the property values and taxes have soared.

Homes valued at $100,000 in the 1980s surpass half a million today.

The 83-year-old owner of one home, who's late husband worked for Congress, has lived in her home since 1951.

"Who am I to turn down the opportunity to pay less real estate taxes, not me,” says homeowner Joan Keenan.

Ninety-four-year old Blanche Jones, a one-time secretary for Admiral Hyman Rickover, has lived in her home since1942.

"They're moving off Capitol Hill because they can't afford to live there,” Jones says. “I think it's a great thing if we can get tax deducted or exterminated completely."

Jack Evans, chair of the D.C. Council's finance committee says with a $400 million surplus, the city can give up the estimated $3 million it would lose from those taxes.

Evans and Bonds speculate with property taxes no longer an issue, more elderly will live longer independent lives in their D.C. homes.

"(We) want to keep them in their house,” Evans says.

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