Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
De Blasio also recently visited senior centers in Astoria and Manhattan to promote the mansion tax and Elder Rental Assistance Program.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio last week attended a rally in Albany to promote the proposed Mansion Tax which would establish and fund the Elder Rental Assistance Program.
De Blasio unveiled ERAP in February as part of his 2017 State of the City address. According to the administration, revenues under the mayor’s Mansion Tax proposal would be lock-boxed specifically for senior affordable housing. The tax would institute a 2.5-percent marginal tax for incremental price over $2 million. According to recent sales data, the policy would affect the top 4,500 residential real estate transactions in the upcoming year and would generate approximately $336 million in Fiscal Year 2018. Those funds would be devoted to ERAP for 25,000 New Yorkers, 62 years and older who earn less than $50,000 per year.
“The Mansion Tax makes so much sense. It says anyone who buys a home in New York City of over $2 million in value pays a little bit more so senior citizens can have affordable housing. 25,000 senior citizens would get affordable housing through the Mansion Tax,” de Blasio noted as he addressed the capital crowd last Wednesday. “You know what the average cost of a home covered by this tax [is]? $4.5 million. I think we can all agree, if someone can afford to buy a $4.5 million-dollar home, they can give a little more so our seniors can have affordable housing, right?”
The Elder Rental Assistance Program, created jointly by the Assembly and the Mayor’s Office, would ensure a senior living on a Social Security check of $1,350 per month would spend no more than $450 per month on rent—helping them stay in their home and age with dignity, according to the administration and the Lower Chamber.
“We say as a society, we honor our elders. We say that we want to make sure they’re taken care of in their golden years. But, for too many of them, they cannot afford the rent. They’re choosing between rent, and medicine, and food. I’ve talked to seniors – I know people have here too – who literally have to make that choice each month,” de Blasio said. “We owe it to them to get it right and asking the wealthy to pay their fair share so our seniors can have decent life is a thing we call common sense. Let’s pass this Mansion Tax. Let’s pass this expanded millionaires’ tax. Let’s serve the people of New York City and New York State.”