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From the desk of Senator Charles Fuschillo: June 13, 2012

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. has announced that the New York State Senate recently passed legislation to restore the STAR property tax rebate check program.  Restoring the program would deliver valuable property tax savings to senior citizens and middle class families.

“Long Island families pay some of the country’s highest property taxes and many are stretching their family budgets thin to survive in this economy. They need real and direct tax relief. Restoring the STAR rebate check program would deliver valuable property tax savings to overtaxed, overburdened Long Island families and allow them to keep more of their hard earned money,” said Senator Fuschillo.

Under the legislation, beginning in the 2012-13 school year, senior citizens on enhanced STAR would receive a rebate check in an amount that equals 25 percent of the current enhanced STAR exemption benefit. The benefit would increase to 35 percent of the STAR exemption starting in the 2013-14 school year. Total property tax relief for seniors next school year would be $202 million.

Basic STAR rebate checks for middle class families would be restored beginning in the 2013-14 school year. The amount of the rebate checks would be determined by income and the local school district tax rate.

The income brackets for Long Island would be as follows:

* Under $120,000 – 60 percent of the STAR exemption

* $120,001 to $175,000 – 45 percent

* $175,001 to $250,000 – 30 percent

The Basic STAR rebate check percentages would remain the same in the 2014-15 school year, but would increase in each of the next two years to 70 percent, 52.5 percent and 35 percent in 2015-16 and to 80 percent, 60 percent and 40 percent in 2016-17.

In any year when there is no appropriation for the rebate checks, senior citizens and middle class taxpayers would be able to claim a property tax credit, equivalent to their rebate check, against their personal income taxes.

The STAR Property Tax Rebate Check would be in addition to residents’ existing STAR exemption.

The legislation was sent to the Assembly.