As many of you painfully know, Monroe County homeowners pay the second highest property taxes in the nation, based on the amount of taxes paid compared to home values.
To address this serious issue, my Assembly minority colleagues and I support a property tax relief plan that would provide $2.6 billion versus the governorís $825 million this year in additional property tax relief.
The governor states that he is providing $6 billion in STAR relief over the next three years, $1.5 billion for this year alone. However, by eliminating the STAR property tax rebate check program and the Personal Income Tax credit that are already in place, the governor is actually only providing $825 million more than last year.
In stark contrast, I have reviewed and support a plan that would triple rebate checks this year and quadruple them next year. This plan provides $2.6 billion in tax relief this year and an additional $3.4 billion in 2008-09, thereby providing a $6 billion property tax relief plan over a two-year period versus the governorís plan over a three-year period.
Furthermore, the rebate check program provides savings directly to the homeowner whereas the governorís plan would provide savings on the homeownerís property tax bill, which is eventually absorbed by school districts. The plan I support gives voters the ability to petition the growth of school and municipal tax rates. By capping school growth, homeowners receive short-term and long-term relief.
In addition, it is important to note that the governorís Middle Class STAR initiative contains a marriage penalty in that a married spouse is included as affiliated income for that home. However, an unmarried individual living with the owner of a home would not be counted against the gross income of the home. This would provide greater savings to the unmarried co-habitants rather than the married couples.
Monroe County homeowners deserve property tax relief that gives them direct savings through rebate checks and provides long-term relief without penalizing married couples. The plan I support addresses these concerns and I will work to ensure that it is enacted.