REBNY gearing up for tax hike battle

By Adam Pincus | May 12, 2009 01:02PM

Steven Spinola spoke at the Harvard Club

The Real Estate Board of New York is pulling together business groups across the state with the intention of fighting proposed tax increases in New York, said Steven Spinola, the group’s president, at an event last night.

Spinola said REBNY and other business associations need to be more active in their opposition to real estate and other tax increases.

“The business community needs to be more vocal. That is us and that is every business person. We are being drowned out by demands for ‘tax the rich,’ ‘millionaire’s taxes,’ ‘tax businesses’ and provide services,” Spinola said, “and we have to stand up and basically say that is not going to work.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed new sales taxes for next year’s budget and Governor David Paterson proposed a budget with income tax hikes.

Spinola discussed taxes affecting real estate owners and other businesses during a gathering of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce at the Harvard Club in Midtown.

Another tax issue he mentioned was the inequity between relatively low property taxes for apartment cooperatives versus the much higher fees for condominiums, but he did not offer methods to bridge the difference.

He also reiterated a call for new tax breaks for companies that sign longer-term leases, similar to the benefits passed for Lower Manhattan during the downturn in the 1990s.