WNYT.com

State Senator Cathy Young double-dipping on STAR tax exemption

Posted at: 03/07/2013 4:41 PM
Updated at: 03/07/2013 5:56 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

NORTH GREENBUSH - Last Monday, Senator Cathy Young (R - Olean) was noticeably outspoken about the need to increase the STAR property tax break.

"And they feel overwhelmed and they feel stressed and overburdened by suffocating taxes," said Young. "Moms and Dads need the government to stop reaching into their wallets."

According to information first published in the Times Union, when she took part in the Monday media event, Senator Young had already been told and had promised to return money she was improperly allowed to exempt on her North Greenbush condo near HVCC.

There's a form you can fill out to renounce the exemption.

The North Greenbush assessor confirms he received a report from the state recently indicating Senator Young and her husband Richard had exemptions on both the Olean and North Greenbush homes in apparent violation of the law.

Based on her current year's tax break, it appears Senator Young has saved about four thousand dollars on taxes due since 2002.

There was no answer at the condo Thursday afternoon.

Senator Young was nowhere to be seen in the almost empty Senate chamber.

A brief statement put out by her office says her husband handles all the financial matters.

Monday the Senator volunteered previous financial pressures. "And I especially remember in '86 the oven in our stove stopped working and there was never any money at the end of the month after we paid our bills to be able to fix the oven," she told a news conference.    LATE THIS AFTERNOON SENATOR YOUNG'S STAFF DISTRIBUTED AN EMAIL THEY SAID WAS FROM THE NORTH GREENBUSH ASSESSOR. THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE WAS CLOSED FOR THE DAY.
       IT INDICATED THE EXEMPTION REMAINED ON THE PROPERTY FROM A PREVIOUS OWNER.
       IT SAID A CAREFUL READING OF THE SCHOOL TAX BILL WOULD HAVE TIPPED THE SENATOR OR HER HUSBAND THAT THEY WERE RECEIVING THE EXEMPTION  BUT THERE WAS NO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO CLAIM THE EXEMPTION.
        THE ASSESSOR'S EMAIL SAID IT APPEARED TO BE AN HONEST ERROR BY THE YOUNGS AND THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE. 
       BILL LAMBDIN, NEWSCHANNEL 13.      LATE THIS AFTERNOON SENATOR YOUNG'S STAFF DISTRIBUTED AN EMAIL THEY SAID WAS FROM THE NORTH GREENBUSH ASSESSOR. THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE WAS CLOSED FOR THE DAY.
       IT INDICATED THE EXEMPTION REMAINED ON THE PROPERTY FROM A PREVIOUS OWNER.
       IT SAID A CAREFUL READING OF THE SCHOOL TAX BILL WOULD HAVE TIPPED THE SENATOR OR HER HUSBAND THAT THEY WERE RECEIVING THE EXEMPTION  BUT THERE WAS NO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO CLAIM THE EXEMPTION.
        THE ASSESSOR'S EMAIL SAID IT APPEARED TO BE AN HONEST ERROR BY THE YOUNGS AND THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE. 
       BILL LAMBDIN, NEWSCHANNEL 13.      LATE THIS AFTERNOON SENATOR YOUNG'S STAFF DISTRIBUTED AN EMAIL THEY SAID WAS FROM THE NORTH GREENBUSH ASSESSOR. THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE WAS CLOSED FOR THE DAY.
       IT INDICATED THE EXEMPTION REMAINED ON THE PROPERTY FROM A PREVIOUS OWNER.
       IT SAID A CAREFUL READING OF THE SCHOOL TAX BILL WOULD HAVE TIPPED THE SENATOR OR HER HUSBAND THAT THEY WERE RECEIVING THE EXEMPTION  BUT THERE WAS NO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO CLAIM THE EXEMPTION.
        THE ASSESSOR'S EMAIL SAID IT APPEARED TO BE AN HONEST ERROR BY THE YOUNGS AND THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE. 
       BILL LAMBDIN, NEWSCHANNEL 13.         LATE THIS AFTERNOON SENATOR YOUNG'S STAFF DISTRIBUTED AN EMAIL THEY SAID WAS FROM THE NORTH GREENBUSH ASSESSOR. THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE WAS CLOSED FOR THE DAY.
       IT INDICATED THE EXEMPTION REMAINED ON THE PROPERTY FROM A PREVIOUS OWNER.
       IT SAID A CAREFUL READING OF THE SCHOOL TAX BILL WOULD HAVE TIPPED THE SENATOR OR HER HUSBAND THAT THEY WERE RECEIVING THE EXEMPTION  BUT THERE WAS NO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO CLAIM THE EXEMPTION.
        THE ASSESSOR'S EMAIL SAID IT APPEARED TO BE AN HONEST ERROR BY THE YOUNGS AND THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE. 
       BILL LAMBDIN, NEWSCHANNEL 13.    

Late Thursday afternoon Senator Young's staff distributed an email they said came from the North Greenbush Assessor. The Assessor's office had already closed for the day so it was not possible to immediately confirm the email's authenticity.

The email indicated the Assessor had determined the exemption was originally obtained by the property's previous owner.

It said a careful reading of the school tax bill would have tipped the Senator and her husband that they were receiving the exemption but they had taken no affirmative action to obtain the exemption.
 

The email said it appeared to be an "honest error" by the Youngs and the Assessor's office.