Wednesday, August 09, 2006

State Legislators Set Bribe to Get Your Vote

Watch as Skelos, Fuschillo, Balboni, Hannon, Saladino, Marcellino, Walker and McKevitt all tout the "rebate" check you will be getting this fall.
Guess when the check will get to you?
According to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno it'll be October 31st, just one week before election day.
The rebate check as Skelos describes it "every homeowner on Long Island will receive an annual school property tax rebate check from New York State. The rebate check will equal 30% of the homeowner’s STAR savings."
Well.. not exactly "annual."
As the Albany-Times Union tells it "Under the agreement reached this year by Pataki and the Legislature, if next year's budget does not include money for rebate checks, an amount equal to the rebate homeowners would have received must be offered in the form of tax credits."

The rebate checks can be anywhere from $100- $600
Skelos says "When added to the STAR program, Nassau County homeowners will save an average of $1,300 on their school property taxes this year, with Enhanced STAR-eligible seniors saving $2,288."
That also is not exactly true.
You get the rebate check, the school tax bill comes - which is not any lower than before - and you pretty much just sign over the "rebate" to your local taxing authority. This isn't "found money" like they want you to think.
Spend the money on groceries, gas or a new tv, and your school tax bill will still be the same.
Basically instead of working to get more school aid to the schools and not just the piddly one-shot increases this year, the state government is cutting you a small check to pay a part of your school tax bill.
Your next school tax bill will be the same amount with no reductions.
And here's the kicker.. to process, print and mail these checks, the state is spending over a million dollars.
Wouldn't that money be better spent elsewhere.. you know like to reduce school taxes???

Senator Fuschillo says "Providing hard working, overburdened Long Islanders with tax relief has been my number one priority. Through this new plan, hundreds of dollars in savings will be delivered directly to homeowners in the form of a rebate check," said Senator Fuschillo. "This new tax plan, when combined with the record amounts of school aid included within the state budget and the millions of dollars in STAR savings, should help to ease the burden on families."
The property tax relief plan will provide taxpayers with a check for a portion of their school property taxes. This refund would be in addition to the existing Federal and State deductions for local property taxes, STAR payments and the State circuit breaker tax credit. Checks will be mailed in the fall, when residents receive their school tax bills."

Once again, this is pretty much a one-shot you won't be seeing again and does NOTHING to lower your real property taxes or school taxes.
This isn't "tax relief" but a gimmick to make you think they are trying to help you.
And in the end, the state will still have to come up with a budget next year to fund schools without the money they are "giving back" to homeowners.

Don't be fooled by the shell game. The Nassau state legisaltors have not done a thing to bring down your school taxes beyond election day.
The Times-Union says "The Senate Republicans, who are fighting to retain their four-seat majority this November, made property tax relief in the form of the rebate checks a top priority in this year's budget negotiations...
"The largest rebate checks will go to regions with the highest property taxes, which also tend to be key suburban swing districts with competitive Senate races.
In addition, homeowners who are 65 or older -- who historically have voted in high numbers -- will receive bigger rebate checks as they already benefit from a higher STAR exemption."

Politics as usual from Albany and they expect us to buy it.

The only suprising thing is that Skelos and the gang aren't handing out individual over-sized checks to each homeowner for a photo-op.
Then again, I might be speaking too soon.

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