Assembly Passes STAR Program Revision

Last week, Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello (R,C,I,Ref-Niagara Falls) and his Assembly colleagues passed Assembly Bill 5969, which would revert the state’s School Tax Relief Program back to its original design for all homeowners. This change comes just one year after the controversial change to the STAR Program was made, a plan heavily criticized by members of the Legislature in both parties.

Last year, the redesign forced new homeowners to pay their school property tax in full and wait for STAR savings to be returned to them in the form of a check. The Department of Taxation and Finance found this process to be far more difficult than anticipated, and has struggled to return homeowners’ STAR savings in a timely manner. Some homeowners who originally expected to receive their checks by October of 2016 have still not received the money they are owed.

“I am thrilled to have helped correct an oversight made by the previous Legislature, and set things right for the homeowners of this state,” said Morinello. “Reverting back to the original STAR Program will provide an immediate decrease in their school tax bill, and save them the stress of having to chase the government down for their STAR check. It is already hard enough to make ends meet, but this revision should ease the burden on homeowners.”

While the overall amount that homeowners can expect to pay will remain the same, the inconvenience associated with the process will now be resolved.

“Sometimes, changes to the ways that government operates are successful, and sometimes they fail,” said Morinello. “It is encouraging the Legislature was able to recognize that this adjustment failed, and I am pleased that we have reacted swiftly to resolve the issue.”