Local pol calls for commission on property tax reform, creation of ‘more equitable system’

February 7, 2018 Meaghan McGoldrick
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A local pol is calling for the immediate establishment of a property tax reform commission, one she says was already promised to the city of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio during the run-up to the 2017 election.

The goal of the commission would be to tackle inequities in the existing tax rates which often have city residents owning less valuable properties paying far more in real estate taxes than other residents whose homes are worth considerably more.

“It’s critical for the families in our community that the mayor make good on his promise of establishing a property tax commission to develop a more equitable system that shares the property tax burden more fairly. In the meantime, he should freeze or, at a minimum, cap the property tax levy,” said Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis in a statement released the same day she questioned de Blasio on the issue in Albany before the Joint Senate and Assembly Finance Committee. “The levy, which the mayor and City Council set, has increased nearly 38 percent over the past four years. This translates to an additional $7 billion City Hall is seeking from taxpayers.”

The politician – who herself ran for mayor against de Blasio in 2017 and currently represents portions of Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island in the Assembly – cites de Blasio’s own pledge to convene a property tax commission to address the “inequalities” of the current system.

Malliotakis further noted that she, herself, lives in a part of the city where the tax rate is 1.05 percent, forcing her to pay $5,485 annually on her $559,000 Staten Island home whereas de Blasio – who resides in a part of Brooklyn with the lowest effective tax rate, 0.33 percent – paid only $3,581 on his Park Slope home, which she says is worth $1,688,000.

This, in part, is due to New York law, which limits the increase in taxable value of any property in one year to six percent (20 percent over five years), meaning that property taxes assessed on individual homes don’t necessarily accurately reflect their value, and the owners of homes whose value has risen fastest take the least hit, proportionately.

“It’s unsustainable and it’s driving middle-class families out of our city,” Malliotakis contended of the disparity driving the need for reform, as she urged New York City residents to sign her online petition.

New York City residents who follow Malliotakis on Facebook were quick to share their horror stories in response to the pol’s plea.

“Thank you for doing the right thing. My property taxes are way to high for me,” wrote one user. “I will have to move out [of] state when I retire.”

“I am in the same boat,” wrote another. “I need to move out of [New York City] when I retire. No mortgage but taxes are a killer.”

By press time, the mayor’s office had not responded to a request for comment or more information.

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