I have co-sponsored legislation that would repeal problematic changes to the STAR tax credit program made in the 2016-2017 Enacted Budget.
The changes made last year for new home, condo, and co-op owners, put the program into the hands of the Department of Taxation and Finance instead of local assessors, as well as changing the relief from a credit to a rebate. The new system has proven to be inadequate as taxpayers are receiving checks much later than expected and after they have had to pay their school taxes.
I have been opposed to the changes to the STAR program from the onset. The changes made last year have caused financial chaos for my constituents who have been waiting months to be reimbursed by the state for property tax relief which they are entitled to by law. Taxpayers have an obligation to pay their taxes on time or be penalized. The state has not lived up to its obligation to get them their checks before they have had to pay their school taxes. This will only get worse as more people are added to the rolls.
The Basic STAR program exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes. Enhanced STAR, which is for senior citizens (age 65+) exempts the first $65,300 of the full value of a home from school taxes. The new program converts this property tax exemption to a personal income tax program for new homes, condos and co-op owners. Both the Basic STAR and Enhanced STAR programs are very popular, particularly amongst senior citizens of fixed incomes who rely on this relief.