Winner Criticizes Elimination of STAR Property Tax Rebates
Albany, N.Y., September 17–Stressing that it’s the time of year when local property taxpayers should be looking forward to some relief through New York’s two-year-old STAR property tax rebate program, State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) said today that the program’s elimination works against efforts to stimulate economic growth and arrives at the worst possible time for families and homeowners.
The 2009-2010 state budget enacted earlier this year by Governor David Paterson and the Legislature’s Democratic leaders eliminated this year’s rebates.
Winner called that an ill-timed decision.
“Families, seniors, and all homeowners have counted on these rebates to provide a little relief from today’s high costs and New York’s crushing property tax burden,” said Winner. “Eliminating the STAR rebate is the worst possible move at the worst possible economic time.”
According to Winner, the STAR rebate program would have provided the following rebates to area homeowners in 2009: Chemung County ($453 Basic STAR rebate, $426 Enhanced/Senior STAR rebate); Schuyler ($393 Basic, $385 Enhanced); Steuben ($439 Basic, $414 Enhanced); Tompkins ($440 Basic, $412, Enhanced); and Yates ($310 Basic, $302 Enhanced).
Winner and Senate Republicans proposed an amendment to the Democrats’ $131.8-billion state budget that would have reauthorized the STAR rebates, but the amendment was defeated along party lines. Since then, Winner and his colleagues have also sought to rally grassroots support to pressure the state’s Democratic leaders to act to restore the rebates. Their efforts have included an online petition that Winner said has been signed by hundreds of local residents. He added that the statewide petition can still be found at Iwantmystarcheck.com.
Winner represents New York’s 53rd Senate District that includes all of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties, and part of Tompkins County (the city and town of Ithaca, and the towns of Enfield, Newfield, and Ulysses).