Conte and Raia Announce Property Tax Relief Plan

February 16, 2006

Assemblymen James Conte (R,C-Huntington Station) and Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-Northport) today joined their Assembly minority colleagues at an Albany press conference to unveil Saving our Homes, a property tax relief plan that would save Long Island homeowners an estimated $1,979 per year. Senior citizen homeowners are expected to save $2,864. A county-by-county breakdown shows that homeowners in Nassau will save $1,019, while their counterparts in Suffolk will save $960. Seniors in Nassau will save $1,483 as compared to $1,381 in Suffolk.

“It’s quite obvious we need both immediate and long-term property tax relief on Long Island, and I feel this is a good plan to provide that relief,” said Assemblyman Raia. “It would help keep our seniors and other residents from fleeing Long Island to escape the ever-rising property tax burden.”

The plan provides significant property tax relief while enacting tax policies to provide long-term relief. It includes School Tax Relief (STAR) program enhancements, Medicaid reform to combat waste and fraud, and restoration of state aid to school districts.

“There should be no correlation between state education funding and the ability of families to own their own homes, but that’s exactly the scenario presented by the current system,” Assemblyman Conte said. “The reforms we proposed today would right the ship so that real property taxpayers on Long Island no longer have to foot the bill for these costs.”

“The rising tax burden is taxing people out of their dreams and the opportunity to own their homes. Seniors are having trouble remaining in their homes, where they have so many meaningful memories,” Raia said.

“This is a comprehensive package that is designed to benefit taxpayers in every corner of our state,” concluded Assemblyman Conte. “It will be especially helpful to Long Islanders struggling under the crippling burden of escalating property taxes.”

The plan includes:

  • Creation of a STAR Excelsior program. STAR, created in 1997 to provide school tax relief, has not kept pace with current property tax rates and home values. An additional $1.75 billion in tax relief would be realized by indexing the Basic and Enhanced STAR exemptions to the current median housing value. This would increase the current exemption by 70 percent.
  • Providing $72.86 million in restoration aid to school districts. Many school districts throughout the state years ago sustained cuts to their state operating aid allocations. This means school districts today operate with less state aid or have passed the increased costs on to property taxpayers.
  • Medicaid reforms. Fraud, waste and abuse cost New York taxpayers nearly $4.5 billion annually.
  • Placing restrictions on unfunded state mandates because they require school districts and municipalities to increase their tax levies on property owners.