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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Legislative Issues

Published: Summer 1997

Legislative Update
CONDOS & CO-OPS DO WELL LEGISLATIVELY IN A DIFFICULT YEAR

Continuing their excellent trend of acknowledging and correcting unfair treatment of cooperatives and condominiums, the City and State are enacting several significant laws this year. Most notable is a State law which will enable condominiums to borrow money for capital improvements. This important new law was introduced by Senator Roy Goodman and Assemblyman Dan Feldman; they worked hard to ensure its passage this year so that condominiums throughout the state would no longer have to delay much needed work. See On the Money.

Albany also righted a longstanding wrong by allowing veterans living in cooperatives to use their benefits and exemptions to purchase cooperative apartments, and to enjoy property tax abatements. It also reduced the parking tax for co-op shareholders and condo unit owners who garage their vehicles in the buildings where they live. Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette championed both of these bills, having worked for several years on each.

When the Governor's complex "STAR" proposal for reduction in school taxes was passed, it did extend eligibility to homeowners whose primary residences are cooperatives. Furthermore, this program appears to provide fairly for school funds for the City of New York.

The City Council took a step to help cooperatives and condominiums cope with the formidable 18% interest rate on delinquent property tax or water and sewer taxes by extending eligibility for the 15-day grace period to include virtually all residential properties. It also quickly passed the local legislation needed so that the State authorized veterans' property tax abatement can begin in the next fiscal year.

PROPERTY TAX REFORM PROGRESSES SLOWLY

We would be remiss if we failed to mention that no legislation has yet been proposed to bring permanent fairness to property taxes for cooperatives and condominiums. However, we are advised that the Department of Finance and the City Council are working to develop such legislation and have invited comments and suggestions from CNYC and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes.

Fortunately, homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums have now begun to reap the benefits of the 1996 legislation granting three years of growing tax abatements to homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums -- a law which your calls and letters helped achieve. After exhaustive data collection and processing, the Department of Finance credited the first abatement dollars on July property tax bills. An important meeting of the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes, to be held September 24th at 2 West 64th Street in Manhattan, will include specific suggestions for the distribution of the abatement to appropriate units.

The Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes will continue to work tirelessly for reasonable and timely legislation that will continue the process of tax reform. See the latest report from the Action Committee.

ACTION COMMITTEE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT

CNYC thanks all its members and subscribers who have made voluntary contributions to the Action Committee to fund its educational and advocacy activities. Without their generous support, the Action Committee could never have achieved so much so quickly. With the crusade for long-term reform still ahead of us, your continuing contributions to the Action Committee will be greatly appreciated. CNYC member buildings annually contribute one dollar per apartment unit; professionals have contributed $25 to $500. Contributions can be sent to the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes at 250 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019. With your continued help we will achieve tax fairness!

CNYC NEEDS MEMBER HELP WITH DIVERSE LEGISLATIVE GOALS

CNYC continues to pursue a wide variety of legislative issues, which have been reviewed in previous issues of this Newsletter. Your help has repeatedly been requested for the grass roots support that is so necessary to legislative success. CNYC will continue to call upon you as we seek:

  • to further improve the ability of condominiums to protect their income streams;
  • to reform the conversion process so that new cooperatives and condominiums are viable from their inception;
  • to affirm in the Congress that Section 277 of the Internal Revenue Code does not apply to cooperatives.
 
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250 West 57th Street, Suite 730
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Tel: (212) 496-7400
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