Tag Archives: tax

‘Landmark’ tax relief on the way for co-op and condo owners


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Co-op and condo owners left in the lurch after state lawmakers originally closed the year’s session without passing key pieces of legislation will not be forsaken for long, officials pledged.

The Assembly, Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement on “landmark” tax relief legislation that will be signed into law later this year when legislators return to Albany, according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“In the short term, the city has issued tax bills for the current fiscal year based on the current tax abatement rates,” Silver said. “When the legislation is signed into law as promised by the governor, we anticipate that the new lower rates will be effective retroactive to July 1.”

Co-op and condo community leaders said the state Legislature left them “high and dry” last week after lawmakers adjourned the session without extending the city’s J-51 program and its tax abatement program. A bill that would put a halt to skyrocketing property tax valuations was also not addressed by the end of the session, they said.

The J-51 program gives owners partial property tax exemptions for capital improvements, and the abatement reduces the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one-, two- and three-family homes in Class 1 — which are assessed at a lower percentage of market value.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said residents would pay up to an additional $1,200 a year in maintenance costs without the abatement. Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc., also counted his potential losses, saying his community would lose out on about $1 million.

But local elected officials said co-op owners need not worry about tax increases in the near future. The abatement, which expired June 30, will be continued until the State Legislature reconvenes later this year to pass a new plan, they said.

Assemblymember Ed Braunstein said it was “highly likely” the legislature would also pass his bill, which would increase abatements for middle class co-op owners from 17.5 percent to 25 percent this year and over 28 percent in three years.

“Co-op owners should be encouraged that relief is right around the corner,” Braunstein said.

Meanwhile, co-op and condo community leaders said they remain hopeful for a more permanent, long-term fix on annual valuation spikes.

According to a summary report released by the Department of Finance (DOF) this year, taxes are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, while owners of single-family homes will see an increase of 2.8 percent. Last year, officials said, some co-op and condo valuations saw astronomical increases as high as 147 percent.

A pair of audits released this year by the city comptroller’s office found the DOF at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in fiscal year 2011-12.

Still, a proposed “8/30” valuation cap — which would have limited property tax increases to 8 percent per year or 30 percent over five years — was not passed, and Friedrich said he does not expect a solution to be reached for another year.

“I am optimistic, but actions do speak louder than words,” he said.

Co-op, condo owners left in the lurch


| mchan@queenscourier.com

City co-op and condo owners were dealt a major blow by the State Legislature after lawmakers wrapped up the year’s session without passing three key bills, including one that would put a halt to skyrocketing property tax valuations.

“Three strikes and you’re out. This was a disastrous session if you’re a co-op or condo owner,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc. and cofounder of the President’s Co-op and Condo Council. “The State Legislature left us high and dry.”

State lawmakers had until June 21 to give bills the green light before reconvening next January. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the 2012 session was “one of the most successful in modern political history,” touting accomplishments reached in pension tiers, teacher evaluations and better protections for people with disabilities.

But co-op and condo community activists said legislative leaders adjourned the session without extending the city’s J-51 program, its tax abatement program and not resolving valuation issues. The lack of passage could rip holes through 360,000 residents’ pockets, they said.

“These three issues are not sensitive, political issues. It’s not controversial. It’s simply renewing existing laws that already have widespread support,” Friedrich said. “And yet the legislators, who are paid very well to do their job, came out empty handed.”

The city’s J-51 Program, in existence for decades, gave owners partial property tax exemptions to encourage them to renovate residential apartment buildings, while its property tax abatement program, established in 1996, reduced the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one, two and three family homes in Class 1 — which are assessed at a lower percentage of market value.

Friedrich, who expected the abatement to be extended, said if a special session is not called this year to renew the program, Glen Oaks Village alone would lose out on about $1 million, which he said would eventually come out of shareholders’ wallets.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and cofounder of the President’s Co-op and Condo Council, predicted similar revenue losses — which he said would lead to 17 to 25 percent maintenance increases for residents.

“We were all terribly disappointed. These were programs that we already had,” he said. “This will be economically devastating for some residents.”

According to a summary report released by the Department of Finance (DOF) this year, taxes are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, while owners of single-family homes will see an increase of 2.8 percent. Last year, officials said, some co-op and condo valuations saw astronomical increases as high as 147 percent.

A pair of audits released this year by the city’s comptroller office found the DOF at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in Fiscal Year 2011-12.

A “8/30” cap proposed to relieve co-op and condo owners would have limited property tax increases to 8 percent per year or 30 percent over five years, but President’s Co-op and Condo Council officials said they do not expect a fix to be made for another year.

Meanwhile, rumors have been swarming that Cuomo will call lawmakers back to Albany for a special session before the year’s end, reportedly to approve the tax abatement extension.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said “for a fact” the abatement would be renewed and “improved” this year in the fall under Assemblymember Ed Brauinstein’s bill and an agreement with the state.

“It’s not a ‘major blow.’ Once it’s passed, it’ll be a huge victory,” Weprin said.

Despite the unofficial pledge, State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymembers David Weprin and Mike Simanowitz announced they would be holding a press conference on Monday to rally for the abatement renewal.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg reveals revised city budget


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Mayor Michael Bloomberg today revealed a revised balanced budget that will retain nearly 2,000 teacher positions that he proposed eliminating in his preliminary plan.

The $68.7 million budget includes no tax increases.

“Our budget won’t impose any new taxes on New Yorkers, maintains the strength of the NYPD and continues our strong support for public schools,” said Bloomberg.

Under the preliminary budget, released in February, 1,800 teachers would have been lost through attrition.

The budget will be balanced partly in thanks to a $466 million settlement with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) from the alleged CityTime scandal.

The city experienced growth in tax revenue as the economy continues a gradual recovery, the mayor said.

“Our efforts in the tech, TV and film, tourism and higher education sectors are producing results, with private employment now at its highest level ever in the city, exceeding the record set back in 1969, and we expect this growth in private sector jobs to continue,” Bloomberg said.

The new forecast included an increase of $185 million in expenditures and a $122 million decrease in revenue from the preliminary budget

The budget will now go through council hearings. The new fiscal year begins on July 1.

 

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD Officer Critically Wounded By East Harlem Suspect

A city police officer is in critical condition this afternoon after being stabbed in the head by an alleged emotionally disturbed man in East Harlem, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed this afternoon. It happened around 10:30 a.m near the corner of 107th Street and Third Avenue. Commissioner Kelly says Officer Eder Loor, who is assigned to the 23rd Precinct, was responding to a 911 call made by the mother of the suspect – identified as Terrance Hale – over concerns he needed to be taken to the hospital. Kelly says when Officer Loor and his partner went to meet Hale’s mother inside their building, Hale emerged from the elevator in the lobby. Read More: NY1

 

 

New Yorkers Rush To Meet Tax Deadline Today

After two extra days, the deadline for New Yorkers to file their tax return or request an extension has arrived. While most people have already filed, those who have not have until midnight to get their returns postmarked. Taxpayers got a reprieve from the traditional April 15 deadline, because it fell on a Sunday. Then the deadline was pushed back an extra day because of a local holiday in Washington. Some procrastinators got an early start at the main post office in Midtown this morning. “It’s the excitement of waiting for the last day. No, cause you have to send in money so no need to pay it in advance. Pay it the last possible day,” said one New Yorker. Read More: NY1

 

WTC hero dies in 3-alarm B’klyn blazeB’klyn blaze strikes down 9/11 vet
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Three injured after taxi slams into East Side hotel

Three people suffered minor injuries when a taxi collided with a truck on the East Side of Manhattan early Tuesday morning, according to police. The impact at Lexington and E 48th St. sent the cab into the Radisson Hotel. The drivers of the taxi and the tractor trailer are blaming each other for running a red light, according to a Fox 5 News report from the scene. No one was seriously injured. Read More: New York Post

Richard Hovan, ex-teacher at pricey Riverdale Country School in Bronx, indicted for bedding student

An Ivy League math whiz who taught at a prestigious Bronx prep school was busted for bedding one of his female students, authorities said. Ex-Riverdale Country School instructor Richard Hovan, 30, was indicted Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court on two felony counts of criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child. Read More: Daily News

Housing markets in Queens and the Bronx heat up as economy stabilizes

Queens and the Bronx are making a comeback. Home sales rose in the double digits in both boroughs during the first quarter of the year, as competitive prices and low interest rates brought buyers back to the table, according to a report from the Real Estate Board of New York. “These are areas with a lot of middle-income housing where low interest rates really make a difference,” REBNY senior vice president Mike Slattery said. Read More: Daily News