Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) announced that as part of the recently approved state budget, the benefits of the successful STAR Rebate program will double in the coming year. Although Governor Eliot Spitzer originally called for eliminating this program, Senator Flanagan and his colleagues in the Senate fought to protect this tax relief program and to increase its effectiveness for Long Island taxpayers.
The program, which was unveiled in 2006, delivered over $875 million in relief in the form of tax rebate checks to homeowners across the state last year. By fighting for increased benefits, Senator Flanagan’s efforts will see that amount jump to $1.3 billion this coming year.
The governor’s proposal would have eliminated the direct tax relief for homeowners and that idea was rejected by Senator Flanagan and his Senate colleagues.
"This direct relief program was too successful in delivering tax relief to allow it to be abandoned. The plan that we approved will double the size of the rebate checks that Long Island homeowners receive and will allow the taxpayers to decide how they should spend their money," stated Senator Flanagan. "Our families are working hard everyday to survive and they deserve to benefit fully from this tax relief program."
Senator Flanagan fought to not just keep the rebate program, he worked to double its impact. In 2006, rebate checks received by Suffolk County homeowners averaged $231 for those who were eligible for Basic School Tax Relief (STAR) and $375 for those who were eligible for the Enhanced STAR benefits.
Under the enhanced STAR rebate plan that Senator Flanagan called for, homeowners would receive an increase benefit from the program according to the following income brackets:
-Those making up to $120,000 in income would see a doubling of their benefit. This means that the average check for these families would increase to $462 and that seniors who are eligible for the Enhanced STAR would receive an average of $750.
-Families with an income from $120,000 to $175,000, the average checks would increase to $346 for average STAR recipients and to $562 for Enhanced STAR recipients.
-Above the $175,000 limit, the increase would be minimal.
"Providing tax relief that truly helps Long Island families and seniors remains my number one priority this year. This increase in the STAR Rebate program is another significant step in the process but we need to go even further. Long Island homeowners need to be provided with realistic relief and that is why I joined with my Senate colleagues to make sure that we continue providing that relief directly to them," stated Senator Flanagan.
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