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MEDIA CONTACT:  Randolph Yunker  (516) 571-5048
September 11, 2007

LEVINSON CALLS ON STATE LAWMAKERS TO IMPROVE
PROVISIONS OF REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW

(Mineola, NY)  Nassau County homeowners receive lower STAR benefits than Westchester County homeowners; Enhanced STAR benefits earmarked for seniors with limited incomes are being given to seniors living in multi-million dollar homes; Small Claims Assessment Review hearing officers with little or no assessment background give away millions of dollars in assessment reductions each year behind closed doors; the state allows for-profit businesses that do not serve any public purpose to operate on public land without paying any property taxes to schools and special districts; clergy members who own their homes may pay school property taxes in one county while others pay nothing in other areas of the state; the value of one’s home should not be used to determine the ability of that homeowner to pay school property taxes; and, there is no law that allows taxing jurisdictions to recover thousands of dollars in back property taxes from individuals who were discovered to have knowingly violated the law by not securing the required building permits to increase the living area of their homes.  “These are just some of the inequities that exist and must be addressed by state lawmakers through a comprehensive review and rewriting of Real Property Tax Law,” stated Board of Assessors Chairman Harvey Levinson.

“At the time that many of these laws and formulas were written in the 1980s and 1990s, no one could have foreseen how these worthwhile provisions would have impacted homeowners under the current economic conditions,” stated Assessor Levinson.  “Like many laws, the intent is noble but its practical application needs to comply with its purpose.”

Since assuming office in 2004, Assessor Levinson has offered a number of legislative initiatives and proposals to state officials and lawmakers in an attempt to create sensible standards that reflect the true intent of the law.  While a number of these proposals are now being looked at by individual lawmakers, Mr. Levinson has renewed his call for the governor and state lawmakers to create a bi-partisan committee to review Real Property Tax Law, the STAR program and all property tax exemptions.

“It is my hope that Governor Spitzer and our leaders of Nassau County’s state delegation will act immediately to empower a committee,” concluded Assessor Levinson.  “It’s time that we apply what we have learned over the past 25 years and amend these laws and formulas so that they are truly fair and equitable – and, makes sense for all homeowners.”