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DEMOCRATS HAD TO FIGHT TO MAKE STAR FAIR

The News certainly did a commendable service for the people of Western New York with its explanation of the recently enacted STAR (School Tax Relief Act) program in its Viewpoints section on Oct. 12.

However, The News failed to mention that Gov. Pataki, with his original STAR proposal, and Senate Republicans, with their plan, both would have financially discriminated againstupstate residents.

The final budget, although adopted with record lateness, basically reflected changes that were offered by Senate Democrats to make the governor's STAR property tax-cut plan less discriminatory to New Yorkers living in cities (such as Buffalo) and less affluent counties (such as Erie County).

Our "Fairness First" proposal sought to provide more equitable school-tax relief to homeowners and senior citizens throughout the state. The tax-cut formula introduced by my Democraticcolleagues and I was adopted in the final plan.

As we proposed, homeowners will receive an exemption of at least $30,000 against the value of their home for calculating school taxes, andseniors will receive a $50,000 break.

This is the type of give-and-take that unfortunately has led to chronic late passage of our state's spending plan.

William T. Stachowski Senator, 58th District
Buffalo