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STAR program will undergo drastic change

Homeowners earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year will get a check for their STAR rebates this year rather than receiving the savings directly in their school-tax bills.

And that’s not all: If any STAR recipient doesn’t switch to a check, they won’t get a 2 percent increase in their tax savings this fall.

Both measures were included in the state budget approved by the state Legislature early Monday and represent the latest change to the $3 billion program that helps New Yorkers blunt the impact of having among the highest school taxes in the nation.

The changes won’t impact who is eligible for the program — just whether they receive the rebates in a check or in their school-tax bills.

But as an incentive for all homeowners to switch to a check, the 2 percent increase in the STAR savings will only go those who get a check. Any STAR rebate recipient can soon be able to ask to switch to a check.

About 2.6 million homeowners in New York get the basic STAR break, and it averages about $790 a year. STAR is available on New Yorkers’ primary residence for those whose household income is $500,000 or less.

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