ALBANY, NY (TIP): If New York property-tax payers want to get a slice of a new $1.3 billion rebate program, their local governments and school district will have to stay under the state’s tax cap.
As part of a wide-ranging deal to close the Legislature’s 2015 session, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to a four-year rebate program that will apply to households making less than $275,000 a year.
According to lawmakers briefed on the plan, it would work like this: In 2016, upstate property owners who qualifies for an existing STAR tax exemption would receive a $185 check by Oct. 15, 2016 – just before Election Day. The check would be $130 for those living within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s service zone, including much of the Hudson Valley. New York City property owners aren’t eligible.
In the following three years, the rebate checks would be a percentage of the homeowners STAR exemption, with lower-income households getting a larger percentage than higher earners. But in all four years, the checks will only go out to taxpayers living in areas where local governments and school districts have complied with the state’s 2 percent property-tax cap.
“In the first year, it will be a rebate check for everyone,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, told reporters. “But then years two, three and four, it will be income-based.”
For example, a homeowner earning less than $75,000 a year would get a check worth 28 percent of his or her basic STAR exemption in 2017, while someone making between $200,000 and $250,000 would get 5.5 percent.
By 2019, those making less than $75,000 would get 80 percent, while those making$200,000 to $275,000 would get 10 percent.
Seniors getting an enhanced STAR exemption would get a lower percentage, starting at 12 percent in 2017 and ramping up to 34 percent in 2019.
All told, 2.5 million homeowners are expected to be eligible.