Updated: 12/06/2013 9:17 PM
Created: 12/06/2013 3:45 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean
If you haven't registered for your STAR school tax exemption -- do it now. The deadline is December 31 and you stand to save hundreds of dollars off your school tax bill.
We did some digging today and found out, even with your exemption, your school districts are still getting the same amount of money and guess who's paying for that?
The average STAR exemption in Monroe County is about $700 but it's not like your schools are losing that $700 multiplied by the exemptions of all your neighbors. The schools are made whole by the state and the state is using money provided by you through your income taxes. So you're saving on your total property taxes but your income taxes are helping to close the gap.
We took a closer look at this because there was a STAR registration center at Rochester City Hall today.
Every homeowner has to re-apply for STAR this year and as of this week, 79-percent of all homeowners in Monroe County have.
The director of finance at West Irondequoit schools says STAR exemptions take some of the burden of paying for public schools off the backs of homeowners.
Berkeley Brean: “It's not the like property owners are completely off the hook. It's just that the state is making you whole and they're using taxpayer dollars to do that.”
Director of Finance James Brennan: “That's correct. It's a little less direct. I guess you could say it's more spread out across the entire state versus directly on the homeowner.”
Berkeley Brean: “That's still your tax money that's making up that difference, it's just coming out of a different pocket.”
Otto Harnischfeger, registering for STAR: ”It is but you feel like you're getting that firsthand by getting the STAR program and you see it deducted off your bill so you see right then and there I'm saving something.”
$150-million is exempted in Monroe County every year. That's direct savings to homeowners but that is also the money the state has to make up to all 18 schools districts in the county.