As bigger tax bills began arriving in homeowner’s mailboxes, State Senate candidate Dave Renzi today joined with Carthage homeowners and vowed to fight for property tax relief — and to protect the STAR tax relief that they are already getting from the state.
At a press conference in front of the Fuller family home in Carthage, Renzi said that homeowners throughout Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties are seeing a $10 million spike in property tax bills that are arriving this week. The higher tax bills are just the latest evidence of the need for Albany to deliver real tax relief to every homeowner.
But Renzi warned that a tax plan proposed by his opponent guts the popular STAR tax relief program by forcing homeowners to give up their rebate checks — and instead of cutting taxes, will actually result in bigger tax bills for 800,000 Upstate homeowners.
“Forcing taxpayers to give up their rebate checks in exchange for a promise of future tax relief is not the best way to solve our property tax crisis,” Renzi said. “It’s an especially bad idea for the 800,000 families who will fall between the cracks and actually see bigger tax bills in the future.”
More than 833,000 homeowners would not qualify for the additional tax relief in Senator Aubertine’s plan. All of them would be forced to surrender their rebate checks, however, meaning that their total tax bill would increase.
Renzi said his simpler, more effective property tax relief plan includes a tax “cap” to hold down the rate of increases, and end Albany’s practice of mandating new programs, and requiring local taxpayers to pay the bill.
Additionally, Renzi has called for reforms to ensure a fair share of school aid from Albany to every district. This year, Albany cut promised funding to schools in the 48th Senate District by $1 million, even as more aid was delivered to districts downstate.
Taken together, Renzi’s plan would bring real relief and lower taxes to every property taxpayer.
“The biggest cause of rising property taxes is that tax relief has not been an Albany priority,” said Renzi. “But it is a priority for families that have to pay the bills — and it is my priority as well.”
According to the State Education Department, Jefferson County homeowners are seeing tax bills that are $3.1 million higher than last year. Bills in Oswego County are up $5.3 million, while St. Lawrence County homeowners are seeing a $1.75 million spike.
The biggest jumps are in the Indian River and Sackets Harbor districts in Jefferson County; Altmar-Parish-Williamstown and Central Square districts in Oswego County; and Madrid-Waddington and Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County.
If Renzi’s tax cap were enacted, residents in nearly half of local school districts would have seen smaller bills.