NYC’s convoluted property tax system could get a big reboot

Reform efforts have sputtered for decades as inequities ballooned

TRD New York /
Jan.January 31, 2020 10:30 AM
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

The city has released an initial version of its long-awaited property tax report, but politicians are taking a wait-and-see approach.

The recommendations call for eliminating the current limit on how much the assessed value of a property can increase each year, although the report stopped short of specifying new rates, the New York Times reported. The commission also proposed requiring owners to pay property taxes based on true market value rather than assessed value. The current system has long been considered inequitable for that very reason. For instance, the 220 Central Park penthouse that Ken Griffin paid $238 million for is valued at $9.4 million by the city.

The changes would impact 90 percent of homeowners, but the city would still collect the same amount of money each year. It would amount to a massive redistribution of who pays what.

Before any implementation, which the authors of the report cautioned could take years, recommendations would need to pass through the city and state legislatures.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the plan “a work in progress” and said that he wanted to examine how the system would affect renters as well as how best to address luxury housing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also voiced his support, calling the proposals “the most significant reforms proposed in 40 years.” [NYT] — Georgia Kromrei


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