I wanted to let you know I voted to pass legislation to restore the STAR (School TAx Reduction) property tax rebate program. The bill, if enacted into law, will provide $202 million in property tax relief to senior citizens in the 2012-13 school year and $1.2 billion in tax relief to middle class families starting in 2013-14. The bill has passed the Senate and now awaits action in the Assembly.
The STAR program provides relief to homeowners who are struggling to pay school taxes. With the economy still in recovery, it is more important than ever to reinstate the STAR Rebate Program.
You’ll recall the STAR rebate check program provided real and direct relief to people across Long Island, many of whom pay the highest property taxes in the country. Unfortunately, in 2009, when the Senate was controlled by Democrats, they eliminated the rebate check program. We need to restore this rebate, especially for seniors and middle class families to help them to combat high school taxes.
Under this legislation, beginning in the 2012-13 school year, seniors will receive a rebate check in an amount that equals 25% of the current STAR exemption benefit, and this will increase to 35% beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Total property relief for seniors next school year would be $202 million.
All homeowners who receive Basic STAR will have their rebate checks restored beginning with the 2013-14 school year. The amount of the rebate checks will be determined by income and the local school district tax rates – and total tax relief will be $1.2 billion across the State.
For Nassau County residents, rebate checks will total between 30% and 60% of the current STAR exemption, depending on family income, and would remain constant through the 2014-15 school year. After that, those percentages would increase to between 30% and 70% in 2015-16 and to between 40% and 80% in 2016-17!
We’ve already seen a significant impact from the property tax cap we enacted last year, but we need to do even more to provide relief for property taxpayers. We’ve passed two on-time, fiscally responsible budgets, and we’re now in a position to return some more savings to property taxpayers via these rebate checks.