Assemblymember Wallace Co-Sponsors Bill to Fix Problems with STAR Program, Help Homeowners Receive Tax Relief

February 22, 2017

Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that she is co-sponsoring legislation reforming the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program to return to upfront, straightforward tax relief (A.5969).

“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to receive the hard-earned money that they deserve,” said Wallace. “We need to ensure that all eligible homeowners get tax relief quickly and easily. That’s why as a member of the Assembly’s Real Property Taxation Committee, I’ve been pushing to fix STAR – to put more money in New Yorker’s pockets and cut red tape.”

Several changes were made to the STAR program last year, forcing new homeowners and those who moved to a different home to pay higher school tax bills and then apply for a rebate check from the state, rather than receive an upfront reduction in their school tax bill. The rollout of changes delayed STAR rebate checks, leaving many waiting on their relief for months or receiving checks under the amount promised, Wallace noted.

The Assembly legislation reverses the changes to make sure homeowners receive upfront relief. In addition, administration of the program will switch back to local assessors from the state Department of Taxation and Finance and the state will be responsible in assisting localities in notifying residents of the changes to ensure that qualified homeowners receive their exemption. The measure also provides a minimum of 60 days for new homeowners who have not yet registered to apply for the exemption for the 2017-18 school year.

“People have expressed concerns about last year’s changes and the negative impact they’ve had on families – especially seniors and low-income taxpayers,” said Wallace. “People living paycheck to paycheck can’t afford to pay higher school bills, and then wait for a rebate. That’s why we’re working to fix these problems.”