State Assemblyman Keith Wright Holds Press Conference to Introduce Legislation Ending ‘Catastrophic’ Property Tax Increases

Says bill will protect New York homeowners and ensure incentives for homeownership
March 20, 2005
Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Harlem), along with members of Harlem Homeowners Against Unfair Property Tax Increases (HHAUPTI), today held a press conference on the steps of city hall to introduce statewide legislation aimed at ending the massive property tax increases that over 100 homeowners have experienced in both Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

According to the Assemblyman, in some cases the taxes increased as much as 2000 percent in just one year. "For a homeowner in New York to receive a bill stating that their property taxes have increased is the norm. But to see an increase of tens of thousands of dollars is preposterous," said Wright.

The Assemblyman’s legislation would assist homeowners involved in new construction by capping construction cost assessments, to keep their subsequent property taxes from skyrocketing. It would also allow homeowners, who have had property tax increases because of renovations, to keep their buildings in a Class 1 tax bracket, thus putting a cap on increases and reducing the overall taxation.

"This is just one necessary step in rewriting the Real Property Taxation law. I fully realize that, to ensure future progress and affordable housing in New York City, we must examine other aspects of this taxation issue, such as the problematic instant addition of construction costs to appraised properties," said Assemblyman Wright.

"As a responsible landlord, I have been doing my part to provide affordable housing in Harlem. These tax increases will completely prevent me and other homeowners from continuing to do so," said Leonard Gleich, a member of HHAUPTI. Another HHAUPTI member, Valerie Jo Bradley, said, "City officials maintain they are only implementing state law – a provision that has been on the books since 1981, but which the city only began utilizing about a year ago. Our group appreciates that Assemblyman Wright is introducing legislation that would supercede this outdated measure and provide assistance – rather than a deterrent – to people who want to be homeowners here."

Assemblyman Wright’s bill will replace recent administrative modifications by the NYC Department of Finance, which were instituted to temporarily prevent the tax increases. "It is clear that in order to renew communities like Harlem and Bed-Stuy; we must remove as many of the barriers as possible. I can think of few larger barriers than a property tax of $20,000," said Assemblyman Wright.