STAR rebate checks could be capped in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing $1 billion in new taxes and fees this year in his budget to help close the deficit.

“We need to be helping our property taxpayers not hurting them,” Assemblyman Ray Walter (R-Amherst) said.

STAR rebates are at risk of getting capped under this year’s budget proposal. So next year, instead of your STAR rebate check increasing, it would stay the same.

“Anytime we’re making the property tax higher on our citizens it’s a bad idea.”

The STAR exemption program is for homeowners who make less than $500,000 a year and for senior citizens making less than $86,000 a year. If you qualify, then based on the property value of your home, you receive a certain percentage of your school taxes back in the form of a STAR rebate check.

“We want to make sure that one of the most successful programs in capping property taxes has been STAR and by doing anything to affect that then your going to increase the burden on taxpayers.”

Right now, STAR rebates grow two percent each year, but the governor believes there are other property tax relief programs in place that would make up the difference. Yet, many legislators disagree.

“There is a groundswell of opposition against this. I think the Governor is going the wrong direction. I think a lot of people realize that and they are going to do everything that we can to prevent that from going through,” Ray

This proposal even has some Democrat legislators not fully on board.

“It is a very difficult financial year so we have to look for ways to cut, that’s in the mix but I would be disappointed if that is one of the proposals that survived,” Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said.

Sen. Breslin is also part of the state’s Education Committee and says he believes this cap will be debated at length.

“This is one that will be discussed and challenged. I’m not ready to predict but I’m hoping we don’t go in that direction.”

If this STAR rebate cap was passed, it would bring in around $49 million to the state.

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