No More STAR Rebate Attacks on STAR

Written By: Bill Mullen

Submitted by Bill Mullen on Thu, 12/18/2008 – 14:33.
No More STAR Rebate; Upstate Attacks on STAR; STAR Deadline

The new budget 2009 proposal from Gov. David Patterson will eliminate the STAR rebate.
There are three separate components of STAR:

The Enhanced STAR (for senior citizens)
The Basic STAR exemption
The STAR rebate (soon to be gone)

Because the upstate New York residents have a low cost of living, they are not receiving large STAR payments, and have opposed STAR. However, these exemptions and rebates have done much to ease the tax burden of downstate homeowners, as our taxes are much higher.

The NYS education funding program is weighted to pay much more to districts with low property values, and lower reported incomes. Since living in much of upstate NY costs only 55% to 60% of the cost of living downstate; New York State payouts are much higher to upstate school districts. This is an inequity against downstate, since the state education formula is not adjusted for a Regional Cost Of Living Adjustment (RCOLA.)

The schools in Westchester, and the north shore of Long Island traditionally receive the smallest increases in aid from NYS.

Upstaters oppose a RCOLA, and also the STAR program; as this greatly increases the money available for their districts; and lowers their school taxes at downstate expense.
They have formed organizations such as “the Better Choice Budget Campaign”
http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/
and the “One New York: Fighting for Fairness Campaign;” to attempt to label all downstaters’ STAR programs as breaks for ‘millionaires.’ Many upstate districts are having 55% TO 60% of their entire school budget paid by the state In contrast, New Rochelle receives only 19 %; and some Westchester districts only get about 10% of their entire budget paid by the state.

NOTICE: The STAR rebate application deadline is looming at the end of the year. If you are a homeowner, and have not applied for STAR, get it in before New Years. December 31 is the deadline. Miss it and you lose your 2009 exemption. Most homeowners, already receiving STAR, need not worry.

AND if you have just become a senior (over 65,) congratulations. Now apply, quick like a bunny for your enhanced STAR. Your income must below $73,000 to qualify. Double check at: http://www.nystax.gov/