Co-op Flop: City Reassesing Serious Tax Hikes
Matt Chaban May 3, 2011, 12:07 p.m.
If the computer’s don’t kill us, the taxes will.
The city’s Department of Finance began using a new formula along with new computational software last year to calculate taxes for the city’s vast swathes of co-operative housing stock last year. It resulted in huge new assessments for hundreds of buildings, according to The Journal, driving up some building prices nearly 150 percent. Queens was especially hard hit, where one-third of co-ops saw assessments jump by more than 50 percent. Part of the shock comes because the city didn’t notify homeowners in advance of the changes.
Property taxes have shot up as a result, causing consternation among the political class in a year when many elected officials are promising not only no new taxes, but caps on automatic increases. The Department of Finance has sought a solution by capping assessments at 50 percent, but the pols remain unsatisfied, the Post reports. “Cutting assessed values on co-ops from 147 percent to 50 percent is like saying you don’t have to drink a full cup of arsenic, you only have to drink a half cup,” State Senator Toby Ann Stavitsky of Queens said. “Either way, it’s poison–and so is this tax increase.”
The city’s solution would cap tax increases at 10 percent, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn has called for an increase of no more than 8 percent, according to the Post, while Stavitsky prefers a cap of 6 percent and has introduced a bill in Albany to that effect.