From today’s Crain’s Insider:
The city’s effort to reduce the number of condo and co-op owners who receive a property-tax rebate is meeting serious resistance in Albany, according to insiders.
Lawmakers are poised to renew the 16-year-old tax break as is, without adjustments sought by the Bloomberg administration.
“It’s run into roadblocks on the Assembly side,” said Joe Strasburg, president of the pro-landlord Rent Stabilization Association.
The law expires June 30, but lawmakers had until midnight Monday to finalize any deals before the end of the session on June 21. Bills must “age” for three days unless given emergency status.
Right now, the abatement—which gives most condo and co-op owners a 17.5% tax break—costs the city $462 million a year in lost revenue. And that number is expected to jump if the abatement is extended, according to the Independent Budget Office. The abatement is available to roughly 365,000 property owners in the city.
“If the abatement is renewed as is through 2016, the foregone property-tax revenue would increase to about $525 million a year by 2016, based on our forecast for growth in assessed value,” said Ana Champeny, an IBO analyst.
The Bloomberg administration wants to reduce both the number of people eligible for the abatement and the amount of money paid out, first by limiting the abatement to just primary residences, and then by capping the tax value at $100,000.
Real estate lobbyists are trying to frame the debate as wealthy Manhattanites, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver, versus the rest of the city.
“Since the speaker and many of his members have a large co-op/condo constituency, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that politics sometimes gets in the way of policy,” Strasburg said.
Part of the problem for lawmakers in Albany may be a lack of hard numbers on which to base their decisions. The city was supposed to produce a report on inequities in city’s property-tax structures as part of the original legislation but has failed to do so. Real estate interests gave the administration data for such a report at least a year ago.