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Cries of “Soak the Rich” Are Heard in Luxury New York Condos

Midtown, Manhattan

Soak the Rich

The building where the most expensive home in America is under construction (image via Google Maps).

Feb. 13, 2019

The rising chant of “Soak the rich!” has begun to seep through the walls of luxury condos in New York City. Since hedge fund multi-billionaire Kenneth Griffin shattered records by paying $238 million for an apartment at 220 Central Park South – and since Democrats wrested control of the State Legislature from tax-averse Republicans – plans to impose a long-shelved pied-a-terre tax on the super-rich are showing new signs of life, the New York Times reports

Testifying before a joint committee of the State Legislature on Monday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “New York City is in need of a luxury pied-à-terre tax.” He added, “There are few better examples of the burgeoning inequality in our city than $238 million homes that will most likely sit empty.” 

Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in: “I believe that millionaires and billionaires are not being taxed at a high enough level.” 

Under a proposal first introduced in 2014, a pied-à-terre tax would institute a yearly tax on homes that are worth $5 million or more and do not serve as the buyer’s primary residence. For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million. 

The office of the city comptroller, Scott Stringer, estimates that a pied-à-terre tax would bring in a minimum of $650 million annually if enacted today. “For us, $650 million a year is a lot of money to deal with things such as our subway crisis,” Stringer says, adding that he people most likely to be affected by such a tax can afford it. He calls them the “international elite.”

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