Senator Volker and members of the Senate Republican Conference today launched a statewide, grass-roots petition drive to restore the STAR property tax relief rebate checks important to middle-class families that were eliminated by Democrats.
The multifaceted petition drive will utilize email and social networking sites such as Facebook, along with creation of a new on-line petition to pressure Democrat lawmakers to restore the rebate checks they eliminated as part of the recently-enacted State budget.
Senator Volker said, “Providing property tax relief to New York’s struggling homeowners has always been the number one priority of the Senate Republican conference. Now, more than ever, families are struggling to make ends meet, and they look forward to this money to help them pay their bills. The new budget places new taxes on everything from car registration to cell phone usage – the last thing we should be doing is eliminating this relief. Our petition drive is an opportunity for the public to tell those in Albany that the STAR rebate checks are important to their families.”
The 2009-10 State budget, put together behind closed doors and in complete secrecy by three New York City Democrats, took away the STAR rebate checks worth hundreds of dollars or more to seniors and homeowners. The checks are mailed out each Fall to help residents pay their bills or cover some of the costs of rising school property taxes in the Hudson Valley, Long Island and Upstate New York.
As part of the petition drive, Senate Republicans have created a new on-line petition that can be accessed by visiting “Iwantmystarcheck.com.” Copies of the petition and a district-by-district breakdown of how much taxpayers will lose under the Democrat plan to take away their STAR rebate check are available.
Hard copies of the petition can be signed or obtained by visiting the district office of any Republican Senator or at one of the soon-to-be announced community forums that will be held by lawmakers across the State.
Senate Republicans initiated the STAR rebate check program in 2006 and successfully beat back efforts last year by Governor Paterson and former Governor Spitzer to eliminate the STAR rebate checks.
Senate Republicans also fought Democrat efforts this year during the budget deliberations, including offering an amendment that would have restored the checks. However, the amendment was defeated when every Democrat in the chamber voted against it.
Restoring the STAR rebate checks would provide an additional $368.64 million in tax relief for homeowners on Long Island; $305.82 million for the Hudson Valley; $187.96 million for New York City; $177.76 million for Central New York; $141.56 for Western New York; $140.09 million for the Capital Region and North Country; and $130.84 million for Rochester.
Attached is a district-by-district breakdown of how elimination of the STAR rebate checks affects individual taxpayers across the State.