Non discrimination towards seniors

Governments at all levels need to reshape laws, rules, and interaction skills with regards to seniors to not only show proper respect for those who built this country, but also to demonstrate kindness and understanding. Some seniors have disabilities. Some have suffered greatly and may have clouded judgement. Some may have emotional and mental problems requiring special attention. Some just may be old, tired, and impatient. Do what is right by them without causing hurdles in their path, without harming them in any way, without needlessly disturbing what time they have.

When I was in Germany in the 1960's, retirees and the elderly were allowed free beer at the hofbrauhaus. We do not offer that, but we can show deference and respect in another way.

Legal requirements add regulations which are often too demanding for many citizens, much less seniors. Their assets are not just fruit for the picking, but the remainder of a life spent working, saving, planning. Reduce the legal obstacles to an exact, absolute necessity.

Property taxes are reduced to help the elderly of small means. In North Carolina, in 2009, the definition was changed from adjusted gross income (AGI) to “all incomes.” That threshold for qualification is now open for interpretation. In 2011, half the county tax departments polled said they still used AGI, because it was more clear. The other half said they used their judgement to determine what “all incomes” meant.

Since costs of living continue to rise, elderly citizens must make up the difference by cutting expenses, borrowing, changing living arrangements, working, or doing business. A business gross income, just like salary gross income, is not net. Some tax supervisors are not well enough educated to know that gross does not equal net in business. Some do not care. Though they are supposed to understand the return-on-investment or the income component of the capitalization method, a strictly business approach to property appraisal.

If the burden on a senior with fixed income and a modest life becomes too great, the alternatives are limited. Taxes need to be an area of low concern, not a source of stress.