Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos called on State lawmakers to support Senate Bill 5248 that would reinstate the Middle Class STAR Rebate for the 2009-2010 school year and thereafter. Ranzenhofer and Skelos also proposed a plan to pay for the STAR Rebate Check Program by cutting 1% from Agency Contracts for $519 million in total savings and utilizing $1 Billion in unitemized appropriations in the Public Protection Budget and General Government Bill passed in the State Budget earlier this year. The use of these funds is at the sole discretion of Governor David Paterson.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senators Skelos and Ranzenhofer provides $386 in property tax relief on average for 82,767 homeowners in the 61st Senate District. Under the Skelos/Ranzenhofer plan Erie County residents would receive $73 million in overall property tax relief while Genesee County residents would receive $7 million.
“Western New Yorkers received the short-end of the stick earlier this year when the New York City controlled Senate eliminated the STAR rebate checks from the State Budget which amounts to raising taxes on property taxpayers throughout Erie and Genesee Counties,” said Senator Ranzenhofer. “Instead of having their taxes increased, Western New Yorkers deserve property tax relief now to defray skyrocketing property taxes. My proposed legislation would restore STAR rebate checks to homeowners without any new State spending or additional taxes and fees.”
Senator Skelos praised Senator Ranzenhofer for his efforts to provide property tax relief for New Yorkers.
“At a time when so many families in Western New York are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing they need is the Governor and the Legislature taking even more money out of their pockets,” said Dean G. Skelos. “Families count on these rebate checks to help pay their bills, and I commend Senator Ranzenhofer who has been a tremendous advocate to get the STAR rebate checks restored. Our families need action; they are hurting. This legislation will provide much-needed relief to homeowners in Western New York and throughout the entire state.”
Senator Ranzenhofer and members of the Senate Republican conference launched an online petition drive last week to pressure State lawmakers to reinstate the program. Since then, tens of thousands of citizens across New York have signed the petition at www.IWantMyStarCheck.com . In addition, hundreds of people have joined Senator Ranzenhofer’s Facebook Group, New York State Taxpayers Need STAR Rebate Checks.
Senate Republicans initiated the STAR Rebate Check program in 2006, which provides a yearly check mailed to homeowners to help defray sky-rocketing school property taxes. The Democratic controlled Senate Majority eliminated the rebate check program in the 2009-2010 State Budget.