Seniors given tax hike option Published Saturday December 10th, 2011

Finance: Any increase in property tax assessment can be deferred for homeowners over the age of 65.

Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, said the program unveiled Friday will simply delay the financial problems seniors face.

"If I as an individual deferred my property tax increase that's just another barrier when I go to sell my property," Cassista said. "It could also, at that time, become a hardship for family members.

"Seniors living at home are really strapped so they will defer, but when you borrow and you borrow and you don't pay it back at the end when you're gone someone is going to have to deal with that issue."

Cassista says that the plan does not do enough to help the thousands of New Brunswick seniors whose income only amounts to roughly $20,000 a year.

"What the government is saying is that 'we will help you, but on the other had we will place you with a long-term penalty,' " she said.