Putting Money Back In New Yorkers’ Pockets

March 19, 2010

Senator Savino and Majority Members Pass Real Property and School Tax Relief BillALBANY – State Senator Diane J. Savino joined Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Klein and other Senate Majority Democrats in passing Property Tax Relief legislation aimed at reversing New York’s skyrocketing property taxes. The legislation, passed Thursday in a 58-1 vote, would put more money back in the pockets of middle income families and seniors. The legislation (S.6212), sponsored by Senator Klein, restores STAR property tax rebate checks for senior homeowners earning less than $150,000, creates a “circuit breaker” property tax rebate for the middle class, and caps local school property tax increases. “The bottom line is that New Yorkers across the state are looking to us in Albany to develop productive fiscal solutions when their pocketbooks are hurting. By providing targeted and progressive tax relief, and putting money directly back in taxpayers’ pockets, we are protecting the dream of homeownership for millions of New Yorkers and providing real relief now,” said State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester).The legislation provides direct property tax relief to senior homeowners across New York State by restoring the STAR rebate checks for seniors with household incomes of $150,000 or less.  In order to provide immediate and guaranteed relief to seniors, but avoid potential “double-dipping,” the bill requires that the amount of the STAR rebate check received be subtracted from the total property taxes paid, in order to calculated eligibility for a circuit breaker on the recipient’s 2010 state income taxes. The circuit breaker created in the new legislation will benefit more than 1.6 million New York State households.  The circuit breaker tax credit would provide targeted tax relief to households earning up to $250,000 per year and paying more than a threshold percentage of their income on property taxes, with the tax credit equal to 30% of property tax payments over the threshold percentage. Eligibility will be determined based on a formula in which the circuit breaker takes effect when spending on property taxes exceeds 7% of the first $120,000 of income, 8% of the next $55,000, and 9% of the excess, up to a total income of $250,000.Earlier this week, the Senate passed a resolution calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation banning the shipment of cigarettes via the U.S. Postal Service. This federal  legislation is expected to help New York State recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in lost cigarette tax revenue annually. On Wednesday, the Senate also passed legislation to expand hours and types of games for video lottery terminals, which is expected to generate an additional $100 million annually for state aid to education.Finally, the legislation will provide significant savings to local property tax payers by establishing a "cap" on school property tax cap increases of 4% over the total amount of taxes levied for the prior school year or 120% of CPI, whichever is less. Any school tax levy exceeding the cap (an “override”) must be approved by 55% of school district voters, while a school budget that falls within the cap only requires the approval of 50% of the voters. “I grew up in Queens, as the second generation granddaughter of immigrants.  During the 1970's I watched my parents, the first generation of those immigrants, who had moved from the tenements of the Lower East Side to the apartments and housing developments of the outer boroughs, strike out as pioneers for the suburbs.  They went to places like Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange.  They went in search of the American Dream of homeownership and good schools.  Thirty five years after that migration, they are living the American nightmare,” said Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island). "This legislation will provide millions of middle class and senior New Yorkers vital, immediate relief, and I am proud to voice my support for it loud and clear today," added the Senator Savino.###