Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today unveiled a plan to greatly increase the size of direct property tax rebate checks for senior citizen homeowners. The legislation that Senator Flanagan has proposed 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.
"Property tax relief remains my number one priority and this legislation will deliver much needed relief to those who are affected the most by current tax rates. Many of our senior citizens live on a fixed-income and they need to know that we are working to deliver help now and that we are committed to providing the maximum relief possible," stated Senator Flanagan.
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.
With the fact that New York State closed out last fiscal year with $431 million more in tax collections than was estimated, Senator Flanagan’s proposal would use 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 that Senator Flanagan is calling for would increase that amount to $750 for the coming year.
"The money we are talking about is the taxpayers money and we have a responsibility to return it to them whenever we have the opportunity. This plan will use the state’s surplus revenue to provide needed tax relief to our seniors and that is the correct use of this money," concluded Senator Flanagan.
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