Legislation co-sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano to roll back harmful changes to the state’s School Tax Relief Program (STAR) easily passed the Assembly this week. The legislation would again classify the STAR benefit as a property tax exemption. Palmesano says the administration’s decision to re-classify the benefit as an income tax credit caused numerous problems for first-time homebuyers, seniors who are downsizing their residence and individuals who moved and purchased a new primary residence in the state. These homeowners now have to pay their entire tax bill up front and wait for their state tax return for reimbursement. In some cases, they had to file new paperwork to have a check sent to them from the state, many of which were sent late.
Palmesano doesn’t want that to happen again.
“Today’s vote shows that our house is committed to getting back to basics with the STAR program. It was popular for a simple reason: it worked. The administration’s changes were misguided. It never made sense to make seniors, first-time homebuyers and hardworking families front the entire cost of their school taxes instead of deducting their savings right from the bill. It’s become a needless and avoidable hardship. The fact that so many of the rebate checks have been delayed makes it even harder to justify continuing to do it this way. I urge the state Senate to protect property taxpayers by passing this legislation as soon as possible. Let’s get it on the governor’s desk,” said Palmesano.
Palmesano and his Assembly Republican colleagues are also fighting against the administration’s efforts to freeze STAR savings.
“It’s a backdoor way to raise property taxes. We’re totally against it,” said Palmesano.