A bill that will help many low-income seniors keep their homes passed the Oregon House on March 13th. House Bill 2489 makes a number of important improvements to the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program, which allows low-income seniors to defer their annual property taxes until they move, die, or sell their homes. "I'm glad we're taking action this session so we can continue providing this support for vulnerable seniors in Oregon," House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D – Eugene) said.
For decades, the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program was both successful in its mission and financially solvent. But in recent years, the viability of the program was put into question as enrollment increased, housing values declined, and the economy worsened. In 2011, the Oregon Legislature responded to the program's lack of funds by passing an enrollment cap and stricter eligibility rules for the program. While these changes were necessary to keep the program afloat, many seniors and people with disabilities were consequently disqualified from the program.