Senate To Act On Property Tax Relief Legislation

Stephen M. Saland

June 12, 2006

The New York State Senate today will act on legislation that would provide almost $1 billion in much-needed relief to hardworking, overburdened taxpayers to help pay their school property taxes this fall. The bill represents an agreement with the State Assembly.

"There is simply no issue more pressing or more important to New Yorkers than providing relief from the crushing burden of property taxes," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "We have to act to ensure that when school tax bills arrive this fall, taxpayers have help paying them. The Senate is committed to providing the relief taxpayers desperately need."

The property tax relief plan (S.8174) would provide taxpayers an advance personal income tax refund check this fall for a portion of their school property taxes. Senior citizens would receive a significantly larger benefit than non-seniors. The total tax relief would be $960 million annually. There will also be an accompanying increase in the existing personal income tax credit for New York City residents. The new tax credit would be in addition to the existing Federal and State deductions for local property taxes, STAR payments and the State circuit breaker tax credit. New Yorkers currently receive a total $3.3 billion benefit from the STAR property tax relief program.

"It is clear that homeowners and in particular, senior citizens, who are struggling to keep up with the ever increasing burden of property taxes need immediate and meaningful relief," Senator Steve Saland (R-C, Poughkeepsie), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said. "My Senate Majority colleagues and I have continued, and will continue, to make tax relief for New York’s overburdened taxpayers a top priority. This property tax relief plan will put money back where it rightfully belongs - into the pockets of the hardworking men and women of our state."

"We need to put real property tax relief into the hands of hardworking taxpayers and we need to do it now," said Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "Here on Long Island, many homeowners are going to be hit with higher school tax bills this fall after spending the year struggling to pay higher gas prices. Taxpayers need help and this legislation will ensure that they get the help they need and deserve."

The savings to taxpayers from the new tax credit plan are comparable to the property tax relief included in the 2006-07 budget adopted by the Legislature that was vetoed by the Governor and overridden by the Legislature. The plan being acted on today uses a formula-driven tax credit to arrive at comparable savings for taxpayers and therefore is not a budget appropriation.

Under the new program, current STAR recipients will automatically be mailed tax credit claim forms. Under State law, refund checks must be mailed within 45 days of the receipt of the claim form by the Department of Taxation and Finance.