I’m going to immediately put in place a committee to look at these tax laws and come up with real solutions for co-ops and condominiums and many of the property owners in poorer communities. Billionaires are not paying their share of taxes. This is an unfair system and we’re going to fairly look at it within the first year.
I know we have the most complicated, obscure, unfair property tax system in the country. Even the experts often can’t figure it out. The first thing we have to do is really make the system clearer and more transparent. We also have to recognize that it’s deeply inequitable.
I know that the real challenge on property tax is how it’s gotten so completely out of whack. The numbers are startling, and when I’m mayor, I’m ready to tackle the real fundamental underlying challenges – not just make a little fix at the edges but completely change it to make it fair. We need to look at what the market rate is across the board, and then make sure we’re giving credits if you’ve been a long-time resident or are an older adult.
We have to come up with a strategy that equalizes the system and makes it fairer, especially for the middle class, who are just being overwhelmed by property taxes to the point of no return. And I’m going to work on these issues with all of the different stakeholders, because this is exactly what has to happen on day one.
ON CLIMATE MOBILIZATION REQUIREMENTS
There should be funds set aside to help with some of these mandates that have been handed down. I am open to doing that, and to coming up with clear ways. It’s a win-win: we’re asking you to retrofit your buildings. Dealing with carbon emissions is good for our environment, and we should assist in the process of doing it so that we don’t have an overburden of unfunded mandates.
I would fully implement a PACE program and make sure that we’re using energy performance contracts and other ways to ensure that we’re bringing capital to buildings. You know, ultimately we’re going to reduce operating expenses if we invest in the right way. To do that we can build public-private partnerships like I’ve done throughout my career, providing affordable capital for buildings that can be fully recouped by the savings.
We have to be at the forefront of making changes so that we are prepared as a city for what is coming at us. But they are challenging goals for us to meet, and the city has to be a partner. It has to provide low-cost financing for co-ops and condos to meet these really ambitious goals. And there are interesting things we might be able to do in this sphere, like carbon trading, where it’s easier for one co-op or condo to make a transition and go a little further and make that trade with another one, so that we’re doing efficient spending and getting the result we want.
Helping co-op and condo owners meet the reduction requirements will not happen on their own. We need to equip buildings with the resources, technical information, financing strategies – and help cut the red tape. We also need to make sure that we have a solid financial foundation for co-ops and condos. As mayor, I’m going to direct city resources to facilitate education efforts aimed at co-op and condo board members to help walk them through compliance strategies, and to ensure that boards are not left without the assistance they need. And I will also give the city’s Retrofit Accelerator the resources that it needs to disseminate best practices of buildings working towards better efficiency.