State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) has launched a grass-roots petition drive to restore the STAR Property Tax Relief Rebate checks that were eliminated in Governor Paterson's 2009-2010 State Budget. The petition drive is part of a statewide effort to reinstate the rebate checks, which provide homeowners in Senator Fuschillo's district with $729 on average in direct property tax relief annually.

The petition drive is being initiated to pressure Democratic state lawmakers and Governor Paterson to restore the rebate checks that they eliminated as part of the recently enacted state budget. Senator Fuschillo voted against the budget because it took away rebate checks and raised taxes for New Yorkers.

Residents can sign the petition online by visiting Senator Fuschillo's website, www.senatorfuschillo.com, by visiting his district office at 5550 Merrick Road, Room 205 in Massapequa, or by calling his office at 882-0630.

The STAR Property Tax Rebate Checks are mailed out each fall to help residents pay their bills or cover some of the costs of rising school property taxes. According to his office, the average amount of rebate funds that homeowners in Senator Fuschillo's district will lose under Governor Paterson's Budget per income bracket are as follows:

• $787 for those with incomes up to $120,000

• $581 for those with incomes of $120,000 to $175,000

• $383 for those with incomes of $175,000 to $250,000

• $794 for Enhanced STAR seniors

Senator Fuschillo was one of the sponsors of the STAR rebate check program when it was initiated in 2006 and successfully beat back efforts last year by Governor Paterson and former Governor Spitzer to eliminate the rebate checks.

This year, Senator Fuschillo co-sponsored an amendment during budget negotiations that would have restored the checks. The amendment, however, was defeated by Senate Democrats.

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