Brannan demands property tax panel show progress report

It’s time for the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform to show its cards, City Council members said.

The commission, formed in May of 2018 by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson to come up with ways to make the city’s byzantine property tax rules fairer, should issue a progress report on its work to date, according to Councilmember Justin Brannan and a group of lawmakers who held a press conference at City Hall on June 13.

It has now been a year since the commission was impaneled, yet New Yorkers are still waiting to hear from the panel, said Brannan, a Democrat who said homeowners in his Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst district could use some relief from high property taxes.

Brannan, who was joined by Councilmembers Deborah Rose, Joseph Borelli, Barry Grodenchik and Robert Holden, urged the commission to provide an update of their work.

The lawmakers also want the panel to place a priority on protecting Tax Class-1 homeowners.

“In this case, no news is not good news. No news is bad news,” Brannan said in a statement. “The Property Tax Commission really does owe us an update, because Class 1 property owners in our districts need relief.”

A Bath Beach homeowner agreed. “It’s crazy. Our taxes have gone up too much,” she told the Home Reporter.

The commission has held a series of public hearings, including a session at Brooklyn Borough Hall in October of 2018. But the panel has not issued any progress reports on its work, Brannan said. Nor has it given any indication of where it is heading in terms of its recommendations, he added.

The city’s property tax structure is based on the value, as assessed by the city, of Class 1 properties (one, two and three-family homes). The tax rate cannot increase by more than six percent every year or by 20 percent in five years.

The problem, according to Brannan and other advocates seeking changes to the system, is that homeowners in more desirable neighborhoods, like Park Slope, where houses often carry a price tag of more than $2 million, pay far less than their fellow homeowners in other parts of Brooklyn where the housing stock is not as expensive.

“Right now, the system is pitting neighborhoods against neighborhoods. The fact that people in my district are paying way more than people in places like Park Slope where there are million dollar brownstones is outrageous,” Brannan said.

Among the items the commission is studying: the tax classification system, methods of determining property market values and assessments, and methods of calculating tax rates.

The commission’s recommendations might include changes that could be made at the city level, as well as changes that require state legislation.

The commission will hold additional public hearings in the near future, and will release its recommendations this year, according to the mayor’s office.

“The city’s property tax system is complex, and any recommendations to change the system will be made after thoughtful consideration and careful deliberation,” mayoral spokesperson Marcy Miranda told the Home Reporter in an email.

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