State Senators Propose Wide-ranging, $2.4-billion Property Tax Relief Plan

George Winner

December 23, 2005

Additionally, Winner said that the existing STAR program would be expanded to provide a STAR Exemption Annual Adjustment. Currently, the income eligibility for seniors to receive enhanced STAR automatically increases to reflect the cost of living, but the STAR exemption levels do not. Over time, as property assessments go up, the portion of school taxes covered by STAR decreases. Increasing the current $30,000 basic and $50,000 enhanced STAR exemption annually to reflect the growth in the median New York State home value will offset the school tax impact of assessment increases. State taxpayers will save $250 million per year through this initiative.

Other REBATE-NY highlights include:

> Municipal Shared Services
: Focusing on the non-school tax side of the property tax problem is an expanded shared services program, "The Smaller, Smarter Government Program," providing up to $50 million in incentives and technical assistance to foster inter-municipal cooperation. While this program is available for the merger and consolidation of all government services and local governments themselves, the initial focus would be on shared administrative services as well as on infrastructure maintenance such as transportation; and

> Expanded State Circuit Breaker for Homeowners:
In addition to the other school tax relief programs, it is recommended that the state personal income tax credit for property taxes, known as the circuit breaker, be enhanced for homeowners. The parameters of the program ($18,000 income, $85,000 home value or $450/month rent) have not been increased since the program’s inception in 1977. The program would be enhanced as follows: increase the home value threshold to $100,000 and income to $36,000. With these changes about 160,000 senior homeowners would earn more of the maximum credit, currently at $375. Total state cost of the expanded program is estimated at $100 million.

Winner released the following figures showing theestimated average annual STAR rebate savings for local property taxpayers under theSenate's REBATE-NY plan:


CHEMUNG COUNTY: $285 (2006-07 Rebate); $475 (07-08);and $713 (08-09)
SCHUYLER COUNTY:$240 (06-07); $400 (07-08);and$600 (08-09)
STEUBEN COUNTY:$249 (06-07); $415 (07-08);and$623 (08-09)
YATES COUNTY:$204 (06-07);$340 (07-08); $510 (08-09)
TOMPKINS COUNTY: $276 (06-07); $460 (07-08); and$690 (08-09)


CHEMUNG COUNTY: $192 (06-07); $320 (07-08);and$480 (08-09)
SCHUYLER COUNTY:$168 (06-07);$280 (07-08);and$420 (08-09)
STEUBEN COUNTY:$180 (06-07);$300 (07-08);and$450 (08-09)
YATES COUNTY:$138 (06-07);$230 (07-08); and$345 (08-09)
TOMPKINS COUNTY:$201 (06-07);$335 (07-08); and$503 (08-09)