Senator Morahan Wins The Fight For Much Needed Property Tax Relief

Thomas P. Morahan

April 01, 2007

Senator Thomas P. Morahantoday announced the final 2007-08 state budget will include much-needed direct property tax relief for the residents of the lower Hudson Valley. The budget passed this weekend by the State Legislature expands on the success of last year’s Senate-initiated rebate check program and provides $1.3 billion in direct property tax relief to New Yorkers this year.

"I know that one of the most critical issues facing families in New York today is paying their property taxes, that’s why I made it clear throughout the budget process that my number one priority in this year’s state budget would be to provide much-needed relief to the hardworking, overburdened taxpayers of Rockland and Orange Counties," said Senator Morahan. "I am proud to announce that this year’s budget will double the amount of direct property tax rebate checks for most homeowners in Rockland and Orange Counties, and they will increase over the next two years. The inclusion of the Rebate Plus program in the final budget gives the money back to the taxpayers, where it belongs, and is a great victory for the overburdened taxpayers throughout New York State."

Last year’s state budget included a Senate-initiated rebate check program that provided approximately $875 million in direct property tax relief to New Yorkers. In 2006, homeowners who were enrolled in the STAR program received a rebate check from the state. In Rockland County, for example, rebate checks ranged from $217.38 for homeowners in the Nanuet school district to $370.79 in Ramapo. This was in addition to the STAR dollars sent directly to the school district. Seniors aged 65 and up, who met the income eligibility requirements for the Enhanced STAR program, received from $363.02 in Nanuet, to $619.22 in Ramapo. Those rebate amounts were based on the STAR tax relief grants in each district , and reflected the individual school tax rates there.

The 2007-08 state budget provides tax relief directly to homeowners that, in most cases, will be twice the amount of last year's property tax rebate checks. Approximately 70% of homeowners are eligible for the maximum rebate amount. An annual income of up to $120,000 would qualify a homeowner to be eligible to receive twice the 2006 rebate amount. Homeowners with incomes between $120,000 to $175,000 would qualify to receive one and a half times the 2006 rebate. Those homeowners with incomes between $175,000 to $250,000 would be eligible for a 'modest' increase.

A report commissioned by the Senate last year, conducted by Global Insights, found that local taxes per household in New York are the highest in the nation ($6,377), and almost two times the national median ($2,952).

The Tax Foundation recently issued a report which studied property tax burdens in the 775 largest counties in the country. Lower Hudson Valley counties are among the top 25 highest property taxed counties in the country.

"High property taxes are driving our families out of New York," said Senator Morahan. "The Senate’s rebate check program is a small step toward easing the burden on our taxpayers and provides much-needed relief to homeowners. I will continue to work towards a comprehensive plan to reign in New York’s skyrocketing property taxes so our families can remain right here in Rockland and Orange Counties."