Publication Date: Summer 2000
ABATEMENT PROGRAM ENTERS
July 1, 2000 marked the commencement of the city's fiscal
year 2001. It also marked the final year of the tax abatement
program currently in place to bring more fairness to the taxes
paid by homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums of our
city. Continuation of the abatement program and support for
the promulgation of a long term plan to continue progress
towards tax fairness are cornerstones of CNYC's political
A LONG HISTORY
In 1990, CNYC formed the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes
and began a crusade for a fair and affordable property tax system for
New York City. Action Committee Chairman Martin Karp mastered the complexities
of the property tax system, noting major inequities and offering practical
recommendations for tax reform. After years of work came widespread acknowledgment
that homeowners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums pay far
more than their fair share of property taxes. A 'home rule message' from
Mayor Giuliani and the City Council In 1996 brought passage of State legislation
establishing a 3-year program of escalating abatements as a first step
toward tax reform. The legislation also required that the City develop
a long term plan to continue progress toward tax fairness. The December
31, 1996, deadline for producing this plan came and went.
Meanwhile, the work of implementing the abatement program was complicated,
and CNYC worked closely with the Department of Finance to help ensure
that all qualified homeowners would benefit from the abatement.
In 1999 the abatement program was about to sunset with still no long-term
plan in evidence. Mayor Giuliani and Speaker Vallone included in the City
budget provision for a two-year extension of the abatement at its highest
level: 25% for buildings where the assessment per unit averaged $15,000
or less and 17.5% for buildings with higher assessments. Assemblyman Pete
Grannis shepherded the proposal through the Assembly with unanimous support
and Senator Roy Goodman sponsored the Senate version. The New York State
budget for fiscal 2000 included a two-year extension of the abatement
program and mandated that a long term plan be presented by December 31,
COMMISSIONER ERISTOFF ADDRESSED
THE ACTION COMMITTEE
Finance Commissioner Andrew Eristoff addressed the February 10, 2000 meeting
of the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes. He outlined
the progress of his department in researching several alternatives for
the long-awaited plan for property tax fairness for homeowners in cooperatives
and condominiums. He noted that his staff would continue to analyze the
data received from abatement applications.
In the ensuing months, the Department of Finance has proceeded carefully,
analyzing the data acquired as the abatement program has been implemented.
The report of its recommendations was recently presented to Mayor Giuliani
for his review.
It is likely that this report will form the basis for the long term plan
that the Mayor will recommend, but there is no assurance of when it will
be presented. Nor can CNYC be sure until our own expert has studied it
that we will want to support its enactment without modification. There
is also no way to determine how long it will take to secure passage and
implementation of the long-term plan.
ABATEMENT EXTENDER SOUGHT
SOUGHT Meanwhile, the abatement program is in its final year and will
sunset on June 30, 2001. Unless state legislation again provides for an
extension, the hard-fought benefits of the abatement program will be lost.
To guard against this possibility, CNYC and the Action Committee are urging
the passage of a three year extension of the abatement program at its
present level. Three years of abatement will help bridge the transitional
period in 2002, when enormous changes will take place in City government
(see Election Time Approaches).
LONG-TERM PLAN STILL URGENTLY
At the same time, CNYC and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate
Taxes will continue to push for the presentation of the long-term plan.
YOUR SUPPORT IS VITAL
A strong grass roots effort will be required in the final push for passage
of the long-term plan and the interim extension of the abatements. The
Action Committee will reach out to its members and to the members of supporting
organizations for letters, telephone calls, lobbying visits, and funding.
Important plans will be made at the October 11, 2000 meeting of the Action
Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes, which is described on page
15. If you are not currently on the Action Committee mailing list and
would like to be included in this important outreach please contact the
Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes by phone at (212) 496-1306
or fax at (212) 580-7801. Contributions to fund the activities of the
Action Committee will be gratefully accepted. Mail your check to the Action
Committee at 250 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019-2142.