Publication Date: Autumn 2000
Action Committee for Reasonable
Real Estate Taxes
THE HISTORY & THE STRATEGIES
The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes was
founded by the Council of New York Cooperatives in 1990 to
advocate for fair and equitable property taxes for all New
York taxpayers. Four years into this mission, the City of
New York, under Mayor Dinkins, acknowledged that homeowners
in housing cooperatives and condominiums paid far more than
their fair share of property taxes. Three years later, at
the request of Mayor Giuliani and the City Council, the State
legislature enacted a three-year program of escalating tax
abatements to begin to correct this inequity, and the City
was mandated to produce a long term plan for tax fairness.
The Department of Finance began the complex and arduous task of implementing
the abatement program. CNYC and the Action Committee helped with the dissemination
of information and the collection of data and waited patiently for the
long-term plan. The December 1996 deadline came and went. The three-year
abatement sunset and was renewed for two additional years. Another December
deadline came and went.
In February 2000, Finance Commissioner Andrew Eristoff addressed the Action
Committee and gave an overview of options which his staff was exploring
as it worked on the requisite long-term plan for tax fairness. Heartened
that progress was being made, CNYC and the Action Committee helped members
usher in the final year of the extended abatement program and waited eagerly
for the City Administration to present a long-term plan. At press date
no plan has yet been presented for public comment.
STRATEGIES FOR 2001
The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes met on October 11th
to determine its strategy for the coming year. Chairman Martin Karp noted
that representatives of all the Action Committee's supporting organizations
were present. He introduced Marc Luxemburg, president of CNYC, Al Pennisi,
new president of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives, Ed Yaker,
chairman of the Coordinating Council of Cooperatives, and Rita Chu of
the Apartment Owners Association, noting that together these organizations
represent more than 300,000 units of cooperative and condominium housing
in the City of New York.
Mr. Karp pointed out that the Giuliani administration has been supportive
of tax fairness and has included provision in its long-term financial
plan for funding to continue abatements at the present level. He further
noted that, while there was clear evidence that work is in progress on
a long-term plan to continue progress towards tax fairness for homeowners
in cooperatives and condominiums, this plan has not yet been presented
to the public. Even if no changes are sought once the plan does become
public, its enactment into law and subsequent implementation will take
considerable time, longer than the few months remaining in the current
abatement program, which sunsets on June 30, 2001.
Mr. Karp therefore recommended that the Action Committee turn its immediate
efforts towards ensuring that another extension of the abatement program
be enacted as soon as possible, so that homeowners in New York cooperatives
and condominiums will not experience any gap in abated taxes. Furthermore,
his recommendation was to work for an extension of three years to allow
ample time for the long-term plan to be presented, reviewed, enacted and
implemented. Mr. Karp's proposal was ratified by the participating organizations.
Property tax law is State law, and so any major modifications must be
authorized by State legislation. The property tax abatement program has
required action by the State legislature for its creation and for any
extensions. The long-term plan will also have to be passed by the State.
Assembly member Pete Grannis and State Senator Roy Goodman have sponsored
the laws enacting and extending the present abatement program. The Action
Committee is confident of their support for future tax fairness laws.
Their initiatives will require support from colleagues.
In this election year for all of the members of the State Senate and
the Assembly, CNYC has sent a questionnaire to all candidates asking their
positions on four issues of importance to housing cooperatives and condominiums.
Not surprisingly, property tax fairness heads the list of issues. Click
here for a compilation of the responses
received by CNYC by October 12th. If candidates from your district have
replied and support our efforts, please try to thank them for this support
with your vote. If there is no response from candidates from your district,
it becomes very important for you to ask the candidates where they stand
on property tax fairness for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums.
Make sure that they know this issue and are supportive. Educate them if
they are not. Election time is always an opportunity to make our issues