- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican lawmakers in Delaware want no part of Democratic Gov. Jack Markell’s plan to cut property tax subsidies for senior citizens.

All 25 GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate signed a letter to Markell on Wednesday asking him to reconsider his proposal to cut $12.6 million in property tax credits for seniors.

Qualifying homeowners currently get subsidies up to $500 on local school property taxes. To help balance his proposed fiscal 2016 budget, Markell wants to cut the subsidy in half. Republicans say the proposal amounts to a $250 annual tax on seniors.

They also suggested that with this week’s news that Delaware will receive $25 million in a multistate settlement with Standard & Poor’s regarding mortgage investment ratings, there is no reason to go through with Markell’s proposal.

In a response late Wednesday, Markell told Republicans that their letter does not reflect the real budget challenges facing the state or propose real solutions. He also said the cost of the property tax subsidy is doubling every decade and is unsustainable, given the increasing number of eligible seniors.

Markell told GOP lawmakers he’s willing to meet with them any time to discuss the state’s budget challenges, which he said would be more productive than issuing dueling news releases.

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