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Assembly Members Organize Opposition To STAR Program Changes

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) is opposing Governor Cuomo’s STAR program proposals which would freeze tax relief growth and switch program to an income tax credit for new homeowners.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) is opposing Governor Cuomo’s STAR program proposals which would freeze tax relief growth and switch program to an income tax credit for new homeowners. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Galef

ALBANY, N.Y. -- State Assembly members Ken Zebrowski and Sandy Galef, chair of the Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation, announced their opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s STAR program proposals which would freeze tax relief growth and switch the program to an income tax credit for new homeowners.

Zebrowski represents the 96th Assembly District, which includes the towns of Clarkstown and Haverstraw and portions of the Town of Ramapo, including the villages of Pomona and most of New Hempstead.

The two Assembly members said they feel the conversion would cause a burden to new homeowners as they would no longer see a direct deduction to their annual school property tax bill.

Freezing STAR benefits would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years and would decrease the relief that many homeowners rely on to deal with the burden of high school property taxes, the Assembly members said.

A letter will be sent with a coalition of their colleagues, to Speaker Carl Heastie urging the Assembly to reject the proposals in the assembly budget resolution, as well as a letter of opposition to Cuomo.

“STAR and Enhanced STAR are highly popular school tax relief programs for our residents and senior citizens,” stated Galef. “As our state continues to take action to lower property taxes, the Governor’s budget proposals counteract our efforts to help taxpayers and they must be rejected in our state budget.”

The freeze would also affect low income seniors on Enhanced STAR as they rely heavily on the savings resulting from the program, said assembly members.

“The STAR program is a critical investment that helps both middle class families and seniors with the high burden of school property taxes. The Governor’s proposal to freeze STAR benefits, and transfer the program to an income tax credit, is the first step of dismantling our most successful tax relief program. I intend to once again organize my Assembly colleagues to defeat this proposal,” said Zebrowski.

The assembly members have begun to organize members in an effort to outright reject the Governor’s proposed changes to the STAR program.

Zebrowski's District Office is at 67 North Main St. in New City.

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