Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today announced that legislation he sponsored to increase the size of direct property tax rebate checks for senior citizen homeowners has passed the New York State Senate. The legislation, which has been sent to the Assembly for action, would return about $200 million to the senior citizens of New York State.
The funding for this increase would be realized from higher-than-projected state revenues realized at end of the 2006-07 state fiscal year.
"I am extremely hopeful that the Assembly and the Governor will join with us in delivering this additional tax relief to our seniors. The fact that many of these residents live on a fixed income makes it essential that we act on this measure as quickly as possible and that we provide them with the relief they need," stated Senator Flanagan. "Providing property tax relief that helps Long Island residents remains my number one priority and I will continue to fight for tax cuts that help the people of our region."
Senator Flanagan originally called for tripling property tax rebate checks for all homeowners during recent budget negotiations to ensure that all homeowners received the maximum amount of relief. However, during budget negotiations, the Governor insisted that funds for rebate checks be reduced by $200 million and, as a result, senior citizens did not receive an increase in property tax rebates in the final budget.
The adopted budget included $1.3 billion for additional property tax relief which doubled the size of rebate checks for the average homeowner, but not for seniors.
New York State closed out last fiscal year with $431 million more in tax collections than was estimated and Senator Flanagan’s proposal would use a portion of these additional funds to increase property tax rebate checks for senior citizens.
The average rebate check for seniors who are eligible for the Enhanced STAR program averaged $375 in direct tax relief and that was increased to approximately $421 in direct relief in the recently enacted budget. The plan sponsored by Senator Flanagan and passed by the Senate would increase that amount to an estimated $750 for the coming year.
"This is the taxpayers money and they deserve to spend it how they see fit. The individual taxpayers needs to know that New York State is going to return their money to them when the opportunity arises and this is a perfect example of how we can achieve that goal," added Senator Flanagan.
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