Assemblymember Jaime Williams: Assembly Takes Swift Action to Fix Problems with STAR

Legislation protects homeowners’ tax relief

Assemblymember Jaime Williams (D-Brooklyn, New York) announced she helped pass legislation fixing the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program to ensure all eligible homeowners get the tax relief they’re owed in a fair and timely manner (A.5969).

“Last year’s STAR changes overcomplicated the program and overburdened the very families and seniors it was created to help,” said Williams. “That’s why I fought for this legislation to pass quickly – because homeowners deserve robust tax relief that makes their lives easier.”

Changes were made to STAR last year that included switching administration of the program over to the state Department of Taxation and Finance instead of local assessors and altering how certain homeowners receive their tax relief. Before last year, all eligible homeowners saw a yearly reduction in their school tax bill. Now, all new homeowners – those who bought their first home and those who moved to a different home – have to pay a higher school tax bill then register for a rebate check from the state, which they are supposed to receive each fall. Although the amount of the benefit is the same, the new system is incredibly inconvenient for the affected homeowners, noted Williams.

To make matters worse, countless homeowners reported receiving their checks much later than they were supposed to or even receiving ones for an amount that fell far short from what it should have been, leaving hardworking families in a bind and making it difficult for them to pay their school tax bill on time, noted Williams.

The Assembly legislation reverses these changes and transitions the program back to the way it was, providing all homeowners with their deserved tax relief upfront as a reduction in their school tax bill. Administration of the program is also returned to the hands of local assessors, and further, the bill requires the state to help localities in notifying residents of these changes so that all qualified homeowners receive the exemption.

“The STAR changes aren’t working. They are causing headaches for homeowners, and far too many New Yorkers are being given the runaround by the state instead of receiving the tax relief that’s rightfully theirs,” said Williams. “We listened to residents’ concerns and took action.”