Mayor de Blasio Announces Sandy Property Tax Relief Legislation

April 23, 2014

Legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, would provide relief to homeowners who will see large property tax increases after rebuilding

Albany, NY—Mayor de Blasio joined Governor Andrew Cuomo today in Albany to announce state legislation that would provide vital property tax relief to New York City homeowners who rebuilt or repaired their homes after Hurricane Sandy and who are facing a large increase in their property tax bills in City Fiscal Year (CFY) 2015. The legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, would lower a homeowner’s property tax liability for CFY 2015 to the pre-storm, CFY 2013 amount. 

Under current law, New York City residents who merely restored a building to its condition prior to the storm will face an increase in their property’s assessed valuation and will, therefore, face an increase in real property taxes. In order to assist these property owners, this bill authorizes New York City to enact a local law granting a partial abatement of real property taxes, so that the owners of these properties will not incur such an increase in real property taxes for CFY 2015.
To qualify for the abatement, an eligible property must meet the following criteria:

  • The Department of Finance reduced the assessed valuation of the building on the property for CFY 2014 from the assessed valuation for CFY 2013 as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
  • The Department of Finance increased the assessed valuation of the building for CFY 2015 from its assessed valuation for CFY 2014.
  • The assessed valuation of the building for CFY 2015 exceeds that for CFY 2013.    

In the event that the repair or rebuilding resulted in an increase in the square footage of the affected building, the bill provides for a proportional decrease in the amount of the abatement to reflect the increase in the square footage of the building. 

“New Yorkers impacted by Sandy are still struggling to get back on their feet. They shouldn’t be asked to pay higher taxes on top of the countless expenses they’ve already faced,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m glad to have the Governor and such a broad, bipartisan coalition of legislators on board as we move forward this vital property tax relief for New Yorkers who need it most.”

“Homeowners recovering from Superstorm Sandy should not face a tax hike simply because they are trying to rebuild their homes back to be ready for the next storm. I am proud to join with Mayor de Blasio in supporting property tax relief for New York City residents and look forward to working with the city and the legislature to protect these homeowners from having to pay unfair higher taxes,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“It is critical that we provide tax relief to beleaguered property owners who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. In my lower Manhattan, community residents and businesses are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the storm. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to ensure that all properties affected by this storm will qualify for relief,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“Government at every level must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with New Yorkers whose homes were lost and lives impacted as a result of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. This legislation will ensure that homeowners do not see higher property taxes simply because they chose to stay and rebuild their homes. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, Senator Lanza and all of our partners in government to make this a reality for the courageous families who are rebuilding their homes, reclaiming their lives, and reestablishing the memories they’ve already made here,” said Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos.

“I think everyone who has seen Sandy’s devastation up close would agree that these homeowners have gone through enough already. Eighteen months after the storm, many of these families are just now getting back on their feet. While plenty of work remains, this bill is an important step in the recovery process. I commend Mayor de Blasio for championing another smart and fair policy proposal that will help these families recover,” said Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein.

“As New York continues to rebuild after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, we must not allow economic growth to falter due to higher property taxes removing needed capital from the local economy. I applaud both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for advancing common sense legislation and policies to provide needed relief to affected homeowners. Ensuring that property owners who rebuild are not subjected to excessive taxes will enable these New Yorkers to keep more of their hard-earned money and stimulate economic growth for New York City and State,” said Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“Mayor de Blasio and I are committed to working with the victims of Hurricane Sandy and government officials at all levels to provide whatever relief we can on this long road to recovery. This tax abatement will provide tangible relief to city homeowners who suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy,” said Senator Andrew Lanza.

“As many residents of my district and our city continue to rebuild in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, news of a property tax relief is most welcomed. On the brink of the start of a new city fiscal year, I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration for recognizing the hardships many New Yorkers still face. So many residents have spent so much to rebuild their homes and stay part of our city, that it is only right that we relieve some financial stress from their lives,” said Senator Martin J. Golden.

“The residents of my district were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. This proposal will provide much-needed property tax relief for those who have been lucky enough to rebuild. I look forward to working with the mayor to get this legislation authorized by the state,” said Senator Diane J. Savino.

“As elected officials, we are given the unique opportunity to assist those in need, and, in this instance, the victims of Superstorm Sandy. I appreciate the efforts of Mayor de Blasio and my colleagues to rationally identify that certain damaged property should qualify for a tax abatement, and that any fiscal assistance to residents still suffering from the aftermath of the storm is justified,” said Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

Senator James Sanders Jr. praised the efforts of the Mayor, “After the residents of the Rockaways were victims of a natural disaster, they became the victims of an unnatural disaster that is the bureaucracy of government. I thank the Mayor for cutting through that bureaucracy and helping the residents of the Rockaways rebuild their lives. I especially want to thank the Mayor for not allowing the city to punish the victims of Hurricane Sandy simply because they rebuilt homes that were destroyed in the storm.”

“Sandy was a devastating event for our community, and we must continue to provide our families with the resources they need to make a complete recovery,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This legislation will finally provide some much-needed relief for many homeowners and reduce the enormous financial burden it will take to rebuild their homes. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his steadfast commitment to the families of southern Queens and Rockaway, and for his tireless efforts to help our community recover and become more resilient for the future.”

“Property taxes are unpleasant for homeowners throughout the city, but especially frustrating for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, who have seen real estate assessments increase on homes unlivable or only recently rebuilt. This legislation is an essential fix to a unique, unforeseen problem in which homeowners were being penalized for recovering from tragedy,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

“This legislation is a mighty step to aid and benefit the many homeowners who were affected by Superstorm Sandy. I applaud this administration for their effort to curb the long-lasting hardships still felt by many New Yorkers across the city. This tax abatement will provide much-needed financial relief to the homeowners who are still struggling in the aftermath of Sandy. The devastation that Superstorm Sandy left in her wake will take many years for us to forget, but as New Yorkers, we are resilient and will not be defeated,” said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

“For homeowners who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy and struggled to rebuild their homes, this tax abatement is welcoming news. Instituting a tax abatement will help to ease some of the financial burdens imposed on these Staten Island homeowners. I commend Mayor de Blasio for introducing this initiative,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick.

“It’s imperative that city and state government come together to ensure that homeowners impacted by Superstorm Sandy are not penalized simply for restoring their homes,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone.

“Rebuilding properties that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy is good for our neighbors, our community, and our city. Government should not be taking a punitive approach to the members of our community that have devoted themselves to making their homes whole again. I’m pleased that the city was able to recognize this and produce an appropriate response,” said Assemblyman Joseph Borelli.

“As we continue to recover and rebuild after Sandy, this tax abatement provides needed relief for thousands of Rockaway families,” said Assemblywoman Michele Titus.

“Many Staten Islanders whose lives were turned upside down by Sandy have chosen to rebuild what was lost. Yet, under the convoluted property tax system, such taxpayers may be penalized for rebuilding with tax hikes. That makes no sense. This legislation is a responsible attempt to protect taxpayers from the threat of higher tax bills. No homeowner whose home was affected by Sandy should see a property tax hike simply because they repaired their home. Kudos to my friend, Minority Leader Ignizio, for recognizing this issue and bringing it up to the Mayor at the meeting we held in Borough Hall back in February, and thank you to the Mayor for taking action. When we sit around the table, good public policy often results. Here is an example of that,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.

“What struck me when I first uncovered this problem was the irony that New Yorkers still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy could literally be priced out of the very homes they struggled to rebuild, due to a quirk in the property tax law that was created to protect them. This legislation will provide an immediate relief for homeowners from excessive property tax hikes, and help to maintain the viability of our communities. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for making the passage of this legislation a priority, and implore our colleagues in the city and state legislature to support it,” said Council Member Vincent Ignizio.

“This legislation is absolutely the right move for folks who are in newly rebuilt homes or hopefully soon will be. It would be counterproductive for the city to help get New Yorkers back in their homes and then essentially penalize them for rebuilding. This tax abatement will help families hurt by Sandy to settle into their new homes without facing a larger tax bill right away,” said Council Member Steven Matteo.

“Today, I’m proud to stand with Mayor Bill de Blasio in his efforts to ensure that homeowners can rebuild their homes and lives post-Hurricane Sandy,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Taxpayers from the Rockaways to Staten Island deserve to have a government who doesn’t abandon them during crisis, but instead gives them support to recover during their time of need. The reforms announced today are a major step in the right direction and ensure that communities can take part in rebuilding efforts with opportunities for local hiring. I applaud the de Blasio administration and look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure that New York City becomes more resilient and sustainable.”

“Families who rebuilt their homes and by extension their lives due to Superstorm Sandy should not be exploited by a bureaucratic rule that would increase their taxes, adding insult to injury. My thanks to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for coming together on behalf of homeowners to quickly address this issue at a time when every dollar counts. This is a great example of the cooperation on all levels of government that is needed to move this recovery in the right direction,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

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