Red lines were drawn across school taxes at a
Some elderly citizens are asking their fellow seniors to lobby for less or no school taxes for seniors in Rockland, since they are an age group without children in the school districts.
However, others said school taxes needed to be paid by all since kids are the future of the country—and because residents can’t simply pick and choose which taxes they want to pay.
Some senior citizens added they went through a public school system paid for by taxpayers when they were kids, it’s only fair and expected that they now pay for this generation of school children.
“We need a stronger commitment from state aid to our public schools,” said Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange).
Carlucci’s Senior Advisory Committee met recently at the Nanuet Library. More than 50 seniors attended.
Carlucci started hosting these meetings in to address a range of issues and concerns affecting senior citizens throughout Rockland County.
“The No. 1 growing demographic is seniors," he said. "Rockland County faces new challenges among an increasingly aging demographic and it is important to meet these challenges by having an active level of participation among those who are affected. At the same time, we have an opportunity to make sure that seniors are provided a more efficient delivery of healthcare services, utilize new technologies, and understand how legislation can impact their lives.”
In an , Patch looked at technology concerns of these Rockland seniors.
Although technology was a hot topic, things got heated when the seniors started talking about the healthcare and taxes.
“We want to live here, but if we can’t afford to live here, what’s the point?” said Carlucci. “We have to pay our fair share of taxes, but they have to be fair and equitable. We have to make it sustainable. If we bankrupt the system, we all lose.”
One notable item of discussion included the topic of healthcare, including the newly crafted Affordable Care Act, which dominated much of the discussion. Many argued that seniors did not fully grasp the specifics of the new federal legislation and how New York State would handle implementing the required elements of the plan. Carlucci pointed out that New York State has already began the process of implementing the program as a way to secure federal dollars.
“The goal here is to talk about issues in an open forum,” said Carlucci, who is advocating for a state-run Medicaid system in New York. “If Medicaid is state-run, we’ll be able to administer Medicaid more effectively and cut down on fraud. Last year we spent billions on Medicaid and we’re not the largest state. However, we implement it differently than any other state.”
Carlucci is pushing for a healthcare exchange program which is a device for an individual to choose what healthcare fits best for him/her. Through this program, individuals will be able to be matched with lower premium options.
“It’s a work in progress,” he added. “Medicare can be so confusing. I want to set up a seminar through the Department of Health that will list the ABCs of Medicare and make sure you get the right program and that no one is overpaying.”
Seniors also brought up their disappointment that veterans should get a co-pay discount on healthcare.
“My concern today is caregivers. There’s no help for a family member who is a caregiver. We had to shell out of our own pocket to find someone to give (our family member) relief,” said Donna Yannazzone, a personal organizer who offers free seminars on support before a loved one dies, such as getting all necessary papers in order.
Carlucci also discussed EPIC, the newly restored prescription drug benefit program that brings back affordable $20 prescription co-pays to seniors, which will bring down costs and make it more affordable to live in Rockland. The program, which takes effect beginning January 1, 2013, restores over $30 million dollars in funding that helps more than 280,000 income-eligible seniors, age 65 and over, afford their out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan.
“Seniors should never have to choose between buying their groceries and affording their medications,” Carlucci added. “I was pleased to have voted for this measure so that Rockland seniors can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Additional topics included ways in which seniors are affected financially, including how to grasp with Rockland County’s finances, restoring the STAR Rebate Program—which can be applied to property taxes of seniors, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements from the State and preventing identity theft targeting older populations.
The seniors also brought up to the topic of the and its possible.
“The Tappan Zee Bridge is our liveline for commerce and labor trade,” said Carlucci, adding that there needs to be a discount for local bridge crossers.
, on behalf of the 170 residents at the , told Carlucci that there needs to be compensation to seniors for lower quality of life, construction, air quality and noise as a result of the bridge construction.
For more information about the next Seniors Advisory Committee or to sign up and become a member, please call Senator Carlucci’s office at (845) 623-3627 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.