Addressing NYC’s Broken Property Tax System Key to Tackling Lack of Affordable Housing

Ongoing headlines of the affordable housing crisis that New York City is currently facing has put the city’s property tax system in the spotlight. According to the opinion expressed by the policy director of Tax Equity Now New York and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance, Martha E. Stark, although relying on assessments would be an acceptable mechanism to determine property tax revenue increases, there is near consensus that the property tax system is broken; and “nowhere is that more evident than apartment buildings where the way assessments are determined leads to owners and tenants subsidizing expensive co-ops and condos.” Property taxes are the main drivers for expenses for the city’s apartment buildings — costs which are eventually borne in large part by tenants. It has been suggested that “to address the ever-increasing property tax burden, the Council should adopt Truth in Taxation principles, and increase its oversight of the Department of Finance “to ensure assessments are fair and that property owners have a timely, effective, and efficient means to have their assessments corrected.”