The Real Deal New York

Lawsuit challenging city’s property tax system survives de Blasio objections

Tax Equity now alleges discrimination against low-income homeowners and landlords
September 26, 2018 10:50AM

Martha Stark (Credit: Twitter and iStock)

A lawsuit challenging the city’s property tax system can proceed, a Manhattan judge ruled, dismissing the de Blasio administration’s objections.

Tax Equity Now filed the lawsuit in April 2017, alleging that New York City’s property-tax system discriminates against low-income homeowners and landlords. The organization includes the Rent Stabilization Association, prominent landlords and social welfare groups such as the NAACP and the Black Institute.

The mayor’s administration, joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. But on Tuesday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits ruled that all the lawsuit’s claims against the city could proceed, the New York Daily News reported.

“Today’s decision probably brings us closer to achieving reform of New York City’s discriminatory, regressive and unlawful property tax system than any single action taken or commission formed by the city over the last 40 years,” said Martha Stark, policy director of Tax Equity Now. Stark served as commissioner of the city’s Department of Finance during the Bloomberg administration.

The judge dismissed all but two claims against the state, meaning that it will remain a co-defendant in the lawsuit. Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed support for reforming how the city calculates property taxes, but has said that the change shouldn’t be made through the courts. The state legislature would ultimately need to approve any change. [NYDN] — Kathryn Brenzel