Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) announced his support for legislation pending in the New York State Assembly to revise the School Tax Relief Program (STAR) meant to offer tax relief to seniors.
Changes to the program were made by the state legislature last year, but ended up overburdening families and seniors, Mr. Thiele said.
“Our focus should always be on helping families get ahead, buy homes and invest in our neighborhoods,” he said. The revised legislation now pending will help provide the property tax relief intended, he said.
Changes last year included moving administration of the program to the state Department of Taxation and Finance from local assessors and altering the way some property owners received tax relief.
Prior to that move,all eligible taxpayers saw an annual reduction in the school tax bills. With last year’s change, new homeowners buying their first home and those who moved to a different home, had to pay a full tax bill and file for a refund. Despite the amount ultimately paid the same, the inconvenience of having to lay out money and await a rebate was difficult, Mr. Thiele said.
Countless homeowners reported rebates arriving much later than promised and some received rebates that were less than what they were supposed to receive, he said.
“We heard families’ concerns loud and clear and are taking action,” Mr. Thiele said about the pending bill that would reverse the changes made last year and assure all homeowners of getting tax relief up front, the legislator said.