It's impolitic to say but no property taxes for older senior citizens is a bad idea
This sign is actually in Baltimore City.
A big reason that many DC neighborhoods declined in the 1980s and 1990s was because of limited housing turnover. As households age, they buy less stuff, they go out to eat less, and therefore local commercial districts get less business and they decline in turn. So it's important to balance aging in place supports with neighborhood improvement goals (see "Yes, the suburbs are still screwed: aging edition").
DC's Senior Citizen Homestead Property Exemption already cuts property taxes in half. Most older households with minimal income have already paid off their houses, and the cost of property taxes are minimal, especially factoring in the Senior Citizen Homestead exemption, which cuts their property taxes in half already.
Semi-abandoned houses owned by seniors. Certainly you see that in many neighborhoods where houses may not be lived in but still owned by the family, because the cost of property taxes and insurance and upkeep is so low. When I lived in the H Street neighborhood back in the pre-2005 days, you could see this a lot.
But it happens all across the city. In my neighborhood (Manor Park-Takoma) you can see on most blocks minimally maintained properties with phone books delivered a few months ago still on the porch and overgrown vegetation (one house that had been vacant for years was recently flipped and we were shocked to see after they cut back the shrubs that there is a front porch on the house).
There are 3 houses on my face block (22 houses total) where this is the case (two other houses are similarly situated but in the process of turning over)--that's almost 15% of the housing stock on our block.
One has been in the process of renovation for 5.5 years so far--it was willed to the daughter by the deceased property owner and is still taxed at the estate/senior rate and has been long paid off so they don't same economic circumstances of a typical flipper motivated to get in and get out to increase the velocity of economic return.
According to the Washington Post article "Two D.C. bills promote property tax cuts":
One bill, introduced by Anita D. Bonds (D-At Large), would exempt low- and moderate-income homeowners 75 or older who have lived in the city for at least 15 consecutive years from all property taxes. ...
Bonds said her bill, which would apply to longtime residents earning no more than $60,000 a year, would allow more senior citizens to stay in their homes. “Helping those who need the help,” she said. “That’s what we should do.”While there are good intentions behind the bill, this specific legislation is a bad idea. It won't actually assist people in staying in houses as much as it will encourage neighborhood stagnation.
If there is a problem with some people in that demographic maintaining their ability to stay in houses because of property tax costs, more specific policies should be proposed, needs-tested, rather than blanket provisions exempting most everyone from paying taxes.