State officials consider ridding of property tax relief checks

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A check many homeowners rely on from the state each year may no longer be coming in the mail. 

The governor's office and state legislators, who are faced with an estimated $6 billion deficit, say doing away with property tax relief checks is a possibility.

The checks are mailed to homeowners whose school districts stay within the state's tax cap. 

In Nassau, the checks average about $675. In Suffolk, the average check is just around $600.

State Sen. John Brooks says the checks are a bit of a political gimmick and just a way to make lawmakers look good when voters receive a check.

"It's really a situation where you were overtaxed by the amount of money that was given back to you. So, we're returning your overtax payment and we just happen to do just before Election Day, so it's in the back of your mind," says Brooks.

Brooks says the money used to fund the program should go directly to schools so that districts can keep their tax hikes as low as possible.

“I think the people of this state would much more appreciate being taxed properly the first time than having to wait to get their money back,” he says.

State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan says any plan that lowers property taxes has to be a priority.

“This is one-party rule, the governor and the Senate Democrats and the Assembly Democrats not paying attention to the taxpayers. I believe in the rebate program very strongly. And it's not gimmicky,” says Flanagan.

The STAR tax program, which offsets taxes through exemptions, would be kept intact.

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