De Blasio, Cuomo Push for Property Tax Relief for Sandy Victims

Property tax relief should soon be headed the way of homeowners who rebuilt or repaired their homes following Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week.

De Blasio and Cuomo announced last Thursday legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, that they said would provide a financial boost to homeowners slated to see a large property tax increase after shelling out major funds to rebuild their property devastated during the October 2012 storm.

The legislation would lower a homeowner’s property tax liability for the 2015 fiscal year to the pre-storm, 2013 fiscal year amount.

Under current law, 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, experience an increase in real property taxes. In an attempt to help these owners, the bill authorizes the city to enact a law granting a partial abatement of real property taxes so owners will not have to incur the increase in fiscal year 2015.

“New Yorkers impacted by Sandy are still struggling to get back on their feet,” de Blasio said. “They shouldn’t be asked to pay higher taxes on top of the countless expenses they’ve already faced.”

The governor echoed this sentiment.

“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,” Cuomo said.

To qualify for the abatement, an eligible property must meet the following criteria: The city Department of Finance reduced the assessed valuation of the building on the property for fiscal year 2014 from the assessed valuation for the 2013 fiscal year as a result of damage caused by Sandy; the Finance Department increased the assessed valuation of the building for 2015 from its assessed valuation for 2014; and the assessed valuation of the building for 2015 exceeds that for 2013.

Queens legislators threw their support behind the bill, with state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) saying “any fiscal assistance to residents still suffering from the aftermath of the storm is justified” and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) saying that the bill would “finally provide some much-needed relief for many homeowners and reduce the enormous financial burden it will take to rebuild their homes.”

By Anna Gustafson


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