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New York News

Concerns Surround Enhanced STAR Renewal

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-966024.mp3

Albany, NY – Many elderly homeowners are in danger of losing their Enhanced STAR tax exemptions after missing filing deadlines for the paperwork involved. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

New York State's School Tax Relief (STAR) Program provides property tax exemptions (also known as homestead exemptions) for New York homeowners. Basic STAR is available to anyone who owns and lives in his or her own home and earns less than $500,000. Enhanced STAR is available to senior homeowners whose incomes do not exceed $79,050. There's a small catch: a requirement that an annual application be submitted by March 1st of each year.

Assemblyman Jack McEneny is co-sponsoring legislation that would enable local governments more wiggle room regarding the deadline.

Town of Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina suggests officials evaluate when there may be a logical reason to extend flexibility to individuals who miss the STAR filing date. Messina plans to get out more information to educate homeowners.

Jack McEneny favors making the annual application process automatic which would cut down on paperwork for everyone involved. Sam Messina says there already are several options available to make participation in the program easier.

For the past six years, Democrat Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senate Senator Ken LaValle have sponsored the legislation that Jack McEneny signed onto: it has never attracted much interest from other legislators.