Lawmakers press NYC to cap property taxes

City officials oppose the 2% limit that applies to rest of NYS
January 27, 2016 10:00AM

State lawmakers urged Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday to cap the city’s property-tax rate – arguing that New York City is flush with cash.

The mayor traveled to Albany to protest cuts in the new state budget, but instead found himself playing defense, as lawmakers pushed him to limit property tax increases to 2 percent a year, a cap that applies to the rest of the state.

“People are being bludgeoned by rising property taxes,” said Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The city’s property values recently crossed the $1 trillion mark.

Property-tax revenues are set to jump 5.8 percent to $23.8 billion in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. That’s $3.5 billion more than the city would collect if it had the 2 percent property-tax cap, state lawmakers argued.

On Tuesday, the Republican-led Senate passed a measure imposing the 2 percent cap in New York City. But the Assembly – which is controlled by Democrats – is unlikely to get on board.

The mayor said his administration wants reserve the right to set its own tax rate, and he said cuts of $1 billion to $3 billion would cripple the city’s budget. “There’s no scenario I can envision where we would want to tie our hands in terms or our ability to maintain the standard of living of the people of New York City and the safety of the people of New York City,” de Blasio testified.

The Real Estate Board of New York on Tuesday signaled its support for the cap, but the Partnership for New York City, a business trade group, said there’s no evidence it would have any benefit without comprehensive reform of property assessment and tax criteria.

Last year, the city’s Department of Finance found that city residents would be paying substantially more in property taxes in 2015 than in 2014, because the collective value of New York City real estate rose 9 percent. [WSJ] – E.B. Solomont