Republican state lawmakers on Monday called for an expansion of the STAR property tax relief program by doubling the basic benefit and essentially eliminating school property taxes for homeowners who are age 80 and older.
The proposal, backed by state Sen. Jim Tedisco and Assemblyman Michael Lawler, would double the average tax benefit from $790 to $1,580, the lawmakers said. People age 65 to 79 who receive benefits under the Enhanced STAR program would have their average benefit increase from $1,382 a year to $2,764 a year on average.
And once homeowners turn 80, their school tax bill would be eliminated. About 650,000 New Yorkers receive benefits under the Enhanced STAR program.
To pay for it, Tedisco pointed to the more than $13 billion in federal aid for New York that could be put toward homeowner relief.
"We've got a lot of surplus right now because the federal government has bailed us out," Tedisco said.
Lawmakers hope the expansion of the relief program would help older New Yorkers on a fixed income stay in their home and provide a benefit for younger homeowners who are struggling with spiking costs under rising inflation.
"They have to make some tough decisions now because it's not only the pandemic that's impacted them — we have the highest inflation in 40 years. Gas taxes, inflation costs, heating costs, groceries — that's a big haul to take care of our senior population," Tedisco said.
New York in 2011 capped local property tax increased at 2% or at the rate of inflation. While that has slowed the growth in property tax costs over the decade, parts of New York still have some of the highest property taxes in the country.