City Hall taking on challenge of updating property tax system

By Steve Spinola

Good ideas are easy to come by — what’s less common are finding people who are bold enough to stand up for good ideas and who will work hard enough make them happen.

Recently, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council presented a very good idea and promised to explore it.

Melissa Mark-Viverito

Melissa Mark-Viverito

The Speaker and her Council colleagues smartly proposed the formation of a Commission on Property Tax Reform that will examine how our city’s property tax system can be restructured.

The real property tax is the largest and most significant revenue source for the City of New York. Yet, it is the most opaque tax the city collects.

REBNY has strongly advocated for a fair and transparent real property tax system that provides the city with the revenue it needs and that allocates the tax levy in a way a taxpayer can understand. We need a tax system that treats small and large property owners fairly.

Currently, the property tax system is unnecessarily complicated, places an unfair burden on one property and favors others, impedes capital investment and economic growth.

The Speaker and the Council deserve a lot of credit for the courage and the commitment to create a commission and explore this issue that is so important to all New York City taxpayers.

On the other end of City Hall, we are optimistic that the incoming Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha will deliver a fair, transparent and accountable process for New Yorkers when they interact with the department.

Reforming New York City’s real property tax system is a daunting challenge, but a necessary one.

With new leadership at the Council and the Department of Finance, we’re beginning to explore how to create a property tax system that not only continues to provide a stable source of revenue, but does so in a transparent, equitable way.