Residents deserve a property tax cap
by State Senato Tony Avella
Mar 08, 2016 | 7121 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While my invite to Mayor de Blasio’s Queens town hall arrived conspicuously late, one thing that arrived like clockwork from the city were our property tax assessments.

The mayor heard from me on runaway property taxes when he testified in Albany in January, and from my constituents at the latest town hall. Simply put, our property taxes are too damn high.

It’s not because the property tax rate rises, but because New York City suffers from a broken property tax assessment system, leaving homeowners with increases as high as $1,000 a year.

We must provide relief to our middle-class homeowners to maintain the promise of affordability in this city.

That’s why I’m pushing for a 2 percent property tax cap in New York City.

Every town, village and city in the state lives under this cap, and as a result homeowners outside of New York City benefit because because taxes are constrained.

These homeowners experience additional relief, too, and by Fiscal Year 2020 those citizens will have received $4.5 billion in additional state relief tied to the cap.

Benefits extend even further. With a cap in place, I expect that Governor Andrew Cuomo will pick up the Medicaid growth that he’s proposed the city foot the bill for this year.

We must do everything we can to create parity between New York City and the rest of the state because our taxpayers lose out. With a cap, it opens the door to the restoration of $328 million in annual Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding.

City taxpayers represent 44 percent of the state’s taxpayers and yet we don’t get any of the AIM pie.

The city took a gloom-and-doom stance, arguing that if the city fell on financial hard times, budget shortfalls would result in public safety and education cuts.

This argument holds no water.

Built into the 2 percent property tax cap legislation is a measure allowing the City Council to override the cap by two-thirds vote and raise the tax, if necessary. At least taxpayers would know why their taxes were being raised and what purpose it served.

With a broken assessment calculation in place, resulting in higher bills, we now live in a “trillion dollar city.”

Our middle-class families are overwhelmed.

On average this year a single family homeowner will see a 3.8 percent increase, co-op owners will experience a 6.5 percent rise, and condo owners a whopping 10.7 percent spike in their property tax bills.

Tenants will feel it too when a landlord passes on the increase in their rent.

We consistently hear the mayor’s gospel of affordability, but yet working and middle-class families are the ones who will suffer without this cap. New York City is not affordable for them.

The State Senate already passed this crucial 2 percent property tax cap measure. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to do the same.

Tony Avella represents the 11th District of northeast Queens in the State Senate.
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