Senate Property Tax Legislation Offers Significant Fiscal Help To North Rocklanders

Thomas P. Morahan

June 27, 2006

Senator Thomas P. Morahan announced Senate passage of a legislative property tax reduction package which would not only reduce school property taxes around the state, but could significantly aid school districts, like the Haverstraw-Stony Point School District in Rockland County, which are facing large tax certiorari judgments in the multi-millions of dollars. If enacted, the bill (S.8360), relieves school districts of the difficulties of raising the funds through residential property taxes and replaces these funds with state aid.

Under other the provisions of the landmark School Property Tax Reduction Act (S.8360), every school district would be authorized to take a public vote to determine if real property taxes on primary residences (STAR eligible properties only) would be phased out over five years and be replaced with additional State funding. This vote would be held on the third Tuesday in May (school district budget vote day).

The proposition would be placed on the ballot only after the submission of a petition which contained at least 25 percent of the persons who voted in the previous school budget vote (or in the previous general election in the Big Five cities). Districts which entering this system would be required to reduce residential real property taxes on primary homes by 20 percent annually until such tax was eliminated.

A new state aid formula would be created to fully reimburse districts for this reduction in local tax collections. Under this system, primary homeowners would only pay a tax for the local share of school facility costs.

"I am pleased that the Senate passed this relief provision that will help residential property owners in North Rockland. I urge the Assembly to act on this bill, " said Morahan.

Senator Morahan also announced Senate passage of two additional bills that would more directly impact North Rockland residential property owners. One bill (S8308) would ensure a prompt recalculation of school aid to the Haverstraw-Stony Point School District due to the reduction in assessed value of the District as a result of the pending judgment.

A second bill (S8326A) encourages municipalities to reassess by removing the disincentive of reduced STAR payments unintentionally caused by the existing STAR methodology. It would amend law to mitigate the unintended adverse consequences generated by the existing STAR methodology for municipalities in which large utility parcels make up a disproportionate share of the tax roll and which undertake reassessments. This legislation would remove the disincentive and thereby encourage affected municipalities to re-evaluate. Without this law, the Town of Haverstraw would have suffered a 30% decrease in its STAR payments from the State as a result of a reassessment.