Hawley Pursuing Property Tax Relief In Albany
March 13, 2006
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today pledged to fight in Albany for real property tax relief, as he joined members of the Assembly minority conference to present part of his property tax relief plan. “New Yorkers are literally being forced from their homes due to an ever-increasing property tax burden,” said Hawley. “It’s a shame that young families can’t purchase homes and that seniors, many of whom already own their homes, have to sell because they can’t afford rising property taxes while on fixed incomes.” Hawley said a majority property tax relief plan introduced today is inadequate, providing far too little relief to far too few homeowners due to a very strict and complicated eligibility formula. He said the tax relief plan his Assembly minority colleagues introduced a month ago is more than twice as large ($2 billion to $900 million,) covers more homeowners, is more comprehensive and is better structured to provide lasting relief to overburdened homeowners. Under the majority’s plan, a homeowner would receive a tax break only if the individual’s property taxes are greater than 7.5 percent of income. This means a working family of four with a household income of $70,000 with a property tax bill of $5,250 or less would receive no relief. Hawley, an outspoken supporter of reducing the property tax burden, supports many initiatives to lower taxes, such as School Tax Relief (STAR) Excelsior. Since STAR’s 1997 inception, the program’s tax exemptions have not increased, even as the median home value has risen. STAR Excelsior would index the STAR exemptions to reduce school taxes even more. Assemblyman Hawley is also fighting to eliminate $4.5 billion worth of Medicaid fraud and abuse annually. In addition, Hawley wants to relieve local governments and school districts of unfunded state mandates – a major reason for increased property tax rates. “Residents of my district sent me to Albany because I told them I would work to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Hawley said.