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Extend the property-tax cap to NYC
March 27, 2015
In the rest of the state, property taxes can't rise more than 2% a year unless the local legislature makes an exception. The city should adopt the same policy.
The state Senate recently passed a bill that would require New York City to cap the amount of money it can raise from property taxes to a 2% increase in any given year. This cap is already in effect in the rest of the state.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration vehemently opposes the Senate bill, arguing that it would deprive the city of billions of dollars. However, a property-tax cap is more responsible and honest—words the mayor used to describe his budget proposal—than current city tax policy. A cap could also improve transparency and fairness.
Except for 2003, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised the property-tax rate by 18% to stabilize revenues in a recession, city officials claim they have not raised property taxes in more than two decades. Really? Since 2004, taxes paid by property owners have soared 84%, to $22.6 billion from $12.2 billion. The average homeowner's annual tax bill has risen to $4,607 from $2,354. Even during Mr. de Blasio's short time in office, the property-tax levy has increased by $1.3 billion, and will increase this year by another $1 billion.