Assemblymember Cahill Welcomes Tax Rebates for Homeowners

June 30, 2006

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D – Ulster, Dutchess) announced that the Governor signed a law to send more than $1 billion back to property taxpayers in the form of rebate checks. “Many New Yorkers are finding themselves working longer hours and second and third jobs just to make ends meet,” noted Mr. Cahill. “Every opportunity we can grasp to alleviate a portion of the tax burden our residents face is a step in the right direction.”

As the Legislative Session wound down, lawmakers passed a major property tax relief package, enacting an annual tax rebate program replacing the personal income tax credit recently approved by the Legislature. Rebates will be equal to roughly 30 percent of a homeowner’s STAR benefit and will be sent on or before October 31st of each year.

In Ulster County, the legislation means an average rebate of $209 for homeowners who receive basic STAR and $320 for seniors who receive enhanced STAR. Homeowners in Dutchess County will see an average rebate of $211 and $343 for seniors. In addition, the budget provides a cost of living adjustment to Enhanced STAR, which will save eligible seniors an additional $72 million. The bill, unfortunately, will provide no benefits to the millions of New Yorkers who rent their homes, an issue Assemblymember Cahill says must be addressed in the future.

“This rebate is not going to solve the property tax crisis our communities are now facing,” said Mr. Cahill. “It will provide much needed relief, but the real issue will never truly be addressed until we eliminate the regressive property tax system that currently funds our schools.” Assembly Bill A.8069, introduced by Mr. Cahill, would eliminate the use of regressive real estate taxes for the purposes of funding education. “Eliminating the school property tax and shifting to a more progressive statewide wealth-based model, so that we can base education funding on a uniform method that takes into account an individual’s ability to pay rather than relying on an arbitrary perception of the value of property in a particular area will remain my top priority going forward,” said Mr. Cahill.