Assemblywoman Woerner: Legislation Fixes Issues with STAR Program, Removes Barriers to Tax Relief

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) announced that she is co-sponsoring legislation to reform the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program (A.5969). The bill reverses changes made last year to ensure homeowners receive prompt, straightforward tax relief.

“We need to relieve the tax burden on hardworking families, not create more obstacles,” said Woerner. “Last year’s STAR changes made it harder than it needed to be to get the relief they deserve, which is why I’ve co-sponsored legislation to fix these issues.”

Last year, several changes were made to the STAR program. These included shifting administration of the program to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, rather than local assessors. Before the changes, all eligible homeowners saw an upfront reduction in their school tax bill. Now, new homeowners and those who moved to a new house have to pay a higher school tax bill and then wait for a rebate check from the state each fall. Many homeowners have reported receiving checks late and under the expected rebate amount. Some never received their checks. The legislation returns administration of the STAR program back to local assessors and transitions the program back to the way it was, reversing last year’s changes so that all eligible homeowners see an upfront reduction in their school tax bill. It also requires the state to help localities notify residents of the new changes so all who qualify can receive the exemption.

“The new system simply made a getting a deserved tax break more convoluted and inefficient,” said Woerner. “It’s inconvenient and disproportionately impacts families and seniors already on a tight budget.”

This legislation builds on Woerner’s commitment to ensuring her constituents receive the tax relief that they are counting on. Last year, residents in the town of Moreau did not receive their town tax refunds because of a filing error. After Woerner intervened to correct the issue, the residents were notified earlier this year that they would be receiving their long-awaited relief.