The heads of all five chambers of commerce in each New York City borough asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to cut the number of businesses that pay the commercial rent tax, according to WNYC.
The request is intended to curb the growing number of empty storefronts across the city.
As it stands, businesses in Manhattan south of 96th Street that pay more than $250,000 a year in rent are also required to pay taxes on that rent. New York City and Florida are the only two places in the United States that tax businesses on their rent.
The business leaders asked the mayor to support a City Council bill that would raise the threshold to $500,000. That would cut taxes for 3,540 companies, according to an analysis by the Independent Budget Office.
The move would result in $50 million in lost tax revenue. City Council member Dan Garodnick is the lead sponsor on the proposal, which could pit the mayor against his own party.
The bill appears to have enough support to override a mayoral veto.
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce CEO Jessica Walker said she did not receive a response from the mayor’s office.
A spokesperson for de Blasio said in a statement to WNYC that the administration does not “feel it’s the right time to take major action on the commercial rent tax” given uncertainty regarding the federal budget, health care and tax reform. [WNYC] – Rich Bockmann