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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation To Provide Tax Relief To New Yorkers Impacted By Sandy

June 11, 2014

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City legislation follows state authorization signed by Governor Cuomo last month

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed legislation into law to provide property tax relief to property owners subject to higher property taxes as a result of repairs to homes severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The abatement was proposed by Mayor de Blasio earlier this year. Today’s bill signing follows state authorization to pass a local law, which was signed by Governor Cuomo last month.

Property owners who repaired or rebuilt their properties after Sandy may be subject to higher property tax bills—even if the homeowner only restored the building to its condition prior to the storm.

The new law signed today by Mayor de Blasio allows for a partial property tax abatement for property owners whose buildings were impacted by Sandy and whose tax bill in City Fiscal Year 2015 is greater than the corresponding tax liability from Fiscal Year 2013.

Property owners will see the abatement on their July tax bills. In the event that the repair or rebuilding resulted in an increase in the square footage of the building, the bill provides for a proportional decrease in the amount of the abatement to reflect the increase in square footage.

To qualify for the tax relief, the property must meet the following criteria:

  • The Department of Finance reduced the assessed valuation of the building on the property for FY 2014 from the assessed valuation for FY 2013 as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
  • DOF increased the assessed valuation of the building for FY 2013 from its assessed valuation for FY 2014.
  • The assessed valuation of the building for FY 2015 exceeds that for FY 2013.

"Property owners impacted by Sandy have already gone through so much – but, now, they won’t be forced to pay higher taxes simply because they rebuilt. Thank you to the Governor, Senate, and Assembly for quickly providing state authorization and the Council for passing this bill. Now, our work continues to ensure that all New Yorkers impacted by Sandy get the relief they need and deserve," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"This property tax abatement will provide much-needed financial relief to many homeowners who have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and who continue to feel the harsh effects of the worst natural disaster to strike New York City. I want to thank the Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for working with legislators from both sides of the aisle to address this ‘Sandy Tax’ after Sen. Lanza and I brought it to their attention early this year," said City Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio.

"Residents have faced too many financial hurdles in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and they deserve a break. In particular, small business owners who had their facilities destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will be able to avail themselves of this partial abatement, which will help us retain small businesses, the jobs they create, and the revenue they bring into the community and the city. I am proud to be a prime co-sponsor of this bill, and I thank my colleague, Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio for taking leadership on this legislation," said Council Member Debi Rose.

"Providing tax relief to property owners still recovering from Hurricane Sandy is the sensible action to take," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "If there is any reasonable support that government can give to those still putting the pieces together after such a devastating storm, then we should not hesitate in doing so. I am proud that Mayor de Blasio has signed legislation to provide tax relief to people all over the city who have been greatly impacted by Sandy."

"I am thrilled that we can offer tax relief to Sandy victims. The last thing anyone wanted was to get people back in their rebuilt homes only to then hand them a bill. I have to thank Minority Leader Ignizio, Senator Lanza, the Speaker, the Mayor, and the Governor for making this a reality," said Council Member Steven Matteo.

"For too many property owners on Brooklyn’s coastline, just the mention of Sandy triggers the reliving of a nightmare that has lasted a year and a half. The loss of homes, businesses and personal possessions continue to impact Brooklynites on a psychological and financial level, and the higher property taxes many incurred just by repairing or rebuilding has been an unnecessary blow. The tax relief signed into law by Mayor de Blasio today works to right that wrong. Recovery will not be complete until every impacted community is thriving better than before, and Borough Hall will continue to be an active partner in that ongoing process," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Borough President Oddo said, "This legislation brings some relief to some Staten Islanders who rebuilt after Sandy and were punished with higher tax bills.  It is a responsible bill that will protect Sandy-impacted New Yorkers who should not see higher tax bills simply because they chose to repair their severely damaged homes. A sincere thank you to my friend, Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio, for spotting this issue and fighting for its passage. This is an example of the city and the state working together in a bipartisan way to address a problem."

"In the ongoing recovery process, we as a state and city must help our struggling constituents move forward, not push them backwards with higher property tax bills. This abatement will hopefully provide some sense of relief as storm victims continue to put their homes and lives back together. We cannot penalize these people after they were faced with no choice but to rebuild their lives. I fought for this legislation in the Senate and will continue to push for financial assistance and support for those affected by Sandy. I applaud and greatly thank Mayor de Blasio for sticking to his word and making this a local law," said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo.

"Property taxes are unpleasant for homeowners throughout the city, but especially frustrating for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Many of our residents have seen real estate assessments increase on homes unlivable or only recently rebuilt. This legislation is an essential fix to a unique, unforeseen problem, in which homeowners were being penalized as they recover from tragedy," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

"This legislation will provide necessary relief to Staten Islanders who were faced with an undue burden after rebuilding their Sandy affected homes. It was absurd that these homeowners were given an extra obstacle; this bill recognizes that and corrects it. I applaud the Mayor and the Staten Island City Council delegation for making this law possible," said Assemblyman Michael Cusick.

"This is a very pragmatic solution to a complex problem. People who were personally impacted by Hurricane Sandy have been met by bureaucratic boundaries at nearly every turn; I think this will be a welcome and refreshing change of pace," said Assemblyman Joseph Borelli.

"Homeowners who faced devastation and destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy should not have to see their property taxes increase because of improvements to their home, made necessary by storm damage. The decision made by the Mayor, and approved by the Governor, to provide tax abatements to those who fall into this category is a tremendous step in the right direction for many homeowners. It shows that we are a stronger community in the wake of this storm, and helps New York City residents to place the recovery effort above all other concerns," said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

"This legislation will finally provide some much-needed relief for many of our families still recovering in southern Queens and Rockaway and reduce the enormous financial burden it will take to rebuild their homes," said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. "I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his steadfast commitment to our families and for his tireless efforts to help our community recover and become more resilient for the future."

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