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Posted on February 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
Every year about this time the New York State Governor releases his proposed budget. That is where local governments start to comb through the many pages to see what unfunded mandates the state government will send our way in the next calendar year.
Well, looking at Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget, we find that he now wants the town’s Assessor to remove homeowners from receiving STAR if they owe any back state taxes. You see, the state needs money and they figure this will provide them some needed cash at the expense of local governments funding the Assessor’s office.
This will be the second year in a row the state has done this to local government. Last year the Assessor’s office was put in charge of keeping track of households that earned over $500,000.00 a year in income who then became eligible for STAR. There where countless mistakes in the states computation from the New York State Department of Finance that lead to many homeowners calling the Assessor’s office to complain.
While these mandates come from the Cuomo Administration, homeowners do not call the Governor’s office, their New York State Senator’s office or their Assemblymen’s office that passed this bill, or the School District for that matter; they call the town, or better yet the Assessor, to complain about this. How fair is this?
These unfunded mandates put more work and stress on an over worked town department already. STAR is a program that benefits taxpayers reducing school taxes on their school bill, but the programs administration is wholly funded and administered by the Town of Webster and paid for in your town taxes. School districts get all the money paid back to them by the state for no effort and no expense on their part.
Enhanced STAR, a spin off of STAR for seniors, is yet another program which needs income verification on a yearly basis which takes considerable time from the Assessor and her office; not to mention the taxpayer who needs to come into Town Hall each year. We have over 1,700 of these applications that need to be checked each year for accuracy by March 1st.
While the Governor might be on a path to brighten New York State’s future, he needs to realize that he cannot continue to pass mandates down to the local level to pay for state programs.
If you have any questions about your town government, please contact me during regular business hours at (585)872-7068; or email me anytime at email@example.com
Ronald W. Nesbitt
Webster Town Supervisor