City Council Speaker Corey Johnson says homeowners who are hankering for property tax reform won’t get their wish fulfilled this year – and probably not next year, Crain’s reports.
Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio impaneled a commission last year to study possible reforms. The commission held a round of public hearings, and now its preliminary report is months overdue. "There are some things that are holding it up," Johnson said at a news conference last week. "This is an enormously, enormously complicated issue, and the commission is committed to releasing serious and thoughtful proposals."
Johnson said he believed there was a chance the commission's report might come out next month. But he noted that the state controls the city's levy system and that Albany would have to approve any changes. He maintained that the Legislature probably would not do so until 2021 at the soonest.
"I think it's highly unlikely it will get fixed this (2020) legislative session, because the issue is so complicated," he said. "I hope that we make some very significant changes by the time I am done being speaker." Johnson’s term expires at the end of 2021.
Much of the inequity in the current tax law stems from a cap that prevents assessments from rising more than 6 percent in a year, even though property values in certain areas – such as Park Slope, Brooklyn, where de Blasio owns two houses – have increased far more. This has left the owners of buildings in less prosperous neighborhoods – and renters – to pick up much of the city's bills. Many Manhattan co-ops and condos have also benefited from the cap.
De Blasio came into office in 2013 vowing to overhaul the much-criticized system – a promise he repeated during his re-election campaign in 2017 – yet he has battled a lawsuit by a group called Tax Equity Now New York, a coalition of landlords and civil rights groups, that seeks a judicial remedy to what the plaintiffs describe as a racially discriminatory system. De Blasio has said he favors a legislative solution to the problem. Homeowners – including residents of co-ops and condominiums – are advised not to hold their breath.
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