Guntherís Legislation to Help Seniors Make Ends Meet Passes Assembly
May 24, 2005
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) announced that the Assembly passed legislation she sponsored that would offer a five-day extension to pay property taxes to senior citizens granted an enhanced STAR exemption (A.399). "Many seniors who rely on Social Security benefits find it difficult to make their property tax payments on the first of the month because of the delay in receiving their retirement checks," Gunther said. "My legislation will allow for an extension for seniors granted the enhanced STAR exemption, so that they have sufficient time to pay their taxes without being penalized." People are eligible for enhanced STAR if they are 65 and over with incomes up to $64,650. The enhanced STAR program can reduce school property taxes an average of $1,300 a year for eligible Orange County homeowners, and an average of $1,050 a year for eligible Sullivan County homeowners. Assemblywoman Gunther also fought for a budget that provides $681,227 to several towns and school districts in Sullivan and Oranges counties, reducing the burden on property-taxpayers caused by forest land exemptions. The budget initiative will reimburse towns and school districts in the two counties for state-mandated tax breaks landowners receive on property used for timber production. "The burden of lofty taxes falls especially hard on seniors living on fixed-incomes," Gunther said. "I will continue working to provide our families with the assistance they need to help make ends meet, and support legislation that lowers the tax burden for our local families and businesses."