Senator Volker Votes Yes To $200 Million Senior Citizen Property Tax Relief Plan

William T. Stachowski

May 08, 2007

(ALBANY, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew) announced today that The New York State Senate has passed a bill to double the size of direct property tax rebate checks for senior citizen homeowners. The bill (S.5742) would return about $200 million to our State’s senior citizens. Funds for the increased senior rebate checks would come from higher-than-projected State revenues realized at end of the 2006-07 State fiscal year.

"Seniors on fixed incomes continue to face higher and higher property taxes, which are forcing many of them to sell their homes or move out of state," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "We can’t let that happen, and today’s legislation will provide for additional property tax relief for our seniors who are having difficulty paying their property taxes. We must continue to do all that we can to provide all of our residents with additional tax relief, and our legislation providing for additional tax relief to our senior citizens is a good first step towards reaching this goal."

The Senate budget proposed tripling property tax rebate checks for all homeowners, including seniors. 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.

The State closed out the 2006-07 fiscal year with $431 million more in tax collections than was estimated in the SFY 2007-08 Executive Budget that was released January 31, 2007. This was $331 million more than the $100 million in additional revenues agreed to in the consensus forecast on March 5, 2007. The Senate Finance Committee’s February estimate of total tax collections for the 2006-07 fiscal year was on target, far closer than the estimates of the Division of the Budget and the Assembly. These additional funds would be used to increase property tax rebate checks for senior citizens.

In his Executive Budget, the Governor proposed a total of $1.5 billion for property tax relief through an expansion of the STAR program. The additional $200 million in property tax relief being proposed by the Senate would bring total property tax relief up to the number originally proposed in the Executive Budget.