Assemblymember Steck Passes Legislation to Fix STAR Program

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that legislation he co-sponsored to eliminate barriers in the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program and ensure all eligible New Yorkers get their reduction on time has passed the Assembly (A.5969).

“The STAR program provides homeowners across the state with the tax relief they need to keep the cost of living down,” Steck said. “Far too many people, however, saw delays in their rebate checks that forced them to dip into their savings just to pay for local taxes. By reinstating STAR as an exemption, middle-class families will get the immediate tax relief they have come to count on.”

Changes that were made last year to STAR wound up creating delays for thousands of New Yorkers across the state, including many in the Capital Region, who didn’t receive their checks on time or at all.

“I registered for the new STAR program in-time and was told I’d receive my refund check in September, but months passed and no check ever arrived,” said Thomas Haggerty, a resident of Colonie. “Assemblymember Steck and his office stepped in and assisted me in getting the refund I was owed. I’m relieved to see that the STAR program will go back to an exemption so I don’t have to worry about this headache again.”

Assemblymember Steck noted that he received many calls from constituents who had yet to receive their STAR checks. His office assisted them in getting their refunds. The bill passed by Assemblymember Steck would reform STAR and move it from a rebate program, restoring it as a tax exemption and ensure all homeowners who are eligible receive an upfront reduction, keeping more money in their pockets.

The Assembly legislation also returns administration of the program to local assessors rather than the state Department of Taxation and Finance. Furthermore, the measure requires the state to help localities notify residents of these new changes so that all qualified homeowners receive the exemption. Additionally, the STAR exemption program would reopen to new applicants while the STAR credit program would sunset, so all who were owed checks will still receive their credit. It would also give homeowners who have not registered with the state for the STAR credit at least 60 days to apply for the exemption for the coming school year.

“Programs to provide tax relief are meant to ease the burden on hardworking families, not cause more stress and difficulties,” said Steck. “Fixing the STAR program is the right thing to do for homeowners in the Capital Region and across the state.”