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Dinolfo: Sign our Petition to Tell Albany to Fix the Enhanced STAR ‘Debacle’

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo launched a petition calling on New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the leaders of the New York State Legislature to fix recent changes to New York State’s Enhanced STAR program. Dinolfo is being joined in the effort by New York State Senators Joe Robach and Rich Funke, who will host the petition at their District Offices and have continued to advocate against these misguided changes to Enhanced STAR. Dinolfo’s petition can be signed online or in person at the County Office Building, at Robach’s District Office, and Funke’s District Office.

“New York’s high property taxes are the number one reason many seniors find it difficult to remain in the homes where they built their lives and raised their families,” said Dinolfo. “It is unconscionable that Albany would make the Enhanced STAR program so complicated that many seniors are now ineligible, costing them hundreds of dollars in needed savings. I ask residents to sign our petition calling on Governor Cuomo and Legislative leaders to fix this ‘debacle’ and provide our seniors with every cent of property tax relief they deserve.”

In January of 2019, New York State implemented new changes to the Enhanced STAR program. Enhanced STAR is a supplemental property tax relief for senior citizens age 65 and older with qualifying incomes. Enhanced STAR applies to the school tax portion of a senior’s property tax bill and can amount to hundreds of dollars in savings annually.

“I have worked diligently throughout my career to ensure that the STAR program and Enhanced STAR program are a reality for New York’s overburdened taxpayers,” said Robach. “Any changes to this program should be for the betterment of the hard working men, women and families of our state and should not make this process more complicated. I am proud to join my colleagues, Cheryl Dinolfo and Rich Funke, in this effort to reverse these unnecessary changes to the important Enhance STAR program.”

"I am proud to stand side by side with my partners in government and the seniors of our state to call on the Governor and the Senate Majority to reverse the changes made in this year’s budget to the Enhanced Star Program,” said Funke (R-C-I, Fairport). “We can all agree that these latest changes will continue to add to the confusion and stress felt by the roughly 2.6 million residents who receive this benefit. My office currently has a petition readily available to sign for those who wish to join us."

As a result of Albany’s changes to the programs this year, seniors seeking to claim the Enhanced STAR property tax credit or exemption were required to submit an income-verification form to their town tax assessor by March 1, 2019. Due to the confusion involved with this deadline, in addition to the complexities of the form and the income verification process, many seniors have found that they are ineligible to receive the Enhanced STAR benefit this year. The program is made only more confusing by the fact that some seniors receive the traditional Enhanced STAR property tax exemption – which would be applied to their tax bill – while others receive the Enhanced STAR property tax credit – which is sent by check – largely depending on when their home was purchased.

These changes have led to widespread confusion and concern as the September 30th school property tax payment deadline approaches. In fact, the program has even been called a “debacle” by town assessors who are being inundated with calls from concerned seniors.

Dinolfo’s petition calling on Albany to fix recent changes to the Enhanced STAR program can be found online at www2.monroecounty.gov/enhanced-star.

It can also be signed in-person at the following locations:

• Monroe County Office Building – 39 W. Main Street, Rochester, NY 14614
• Office of Senator Joe Robach – 2300 W. Ridge Road, Rochester, NY 14626
• Office of Senator Rich Funke – 230 Packett’s Landing, Fairport, NY 14450

All petitions will be transmitted to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the New York State Legislature to demand immediate action to provide fair property tax relief for seniors in Monroe County and across New York.