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REBNY Watch

City Hall taking on challenge of updating property tax system

By Steve Spinola

Good ideas are easy to come by — what’s less common are finding people who are bold enough to stand up for good ideas and who will work hard enough make them happen.

Recently, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council presented a very good idea and promised to explore it.

Melissa Mark-Viverito
Melissa Mark-Viverito

The Speaker and her Council colleagues smartly proposed the formation of a Commission on Property Tax Reform that will examine how our city’s property tax system can be restructured.

The real property tax is the largest and most significant revenue source for the City of New York. Yet, it is the most opaque tax the city collects.

REBNY has strongly advocated for a fair and transparent real property tax system that provides the city with the revenue it needs and that allocates the tax levy in a way a taxpayer can understand. We need a tax system that treats small and large property owners fairly.

Currently, the property tax system is unnecessarily complicated, places an unfair burden on one property and favors others, impedes capital investment and economic growth.

The Speaker and the Council deserve a lot of credit for the courage and the commitment to create a commission and explore this issue that is so important to all New York City taxpayers.

On the other end of City Hall, we are optimistic that the incoming Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha will deliver a fair, transparent and accountable process for New Yorkers when they interact with the department.

Reforming New York City’s real property tax system is a daunting challenge, but a necessary one.

With new leadership at the Council and the Department of Finance, we’re beginning to explore how to create a property tax system that not only continues to provide a stable source of revenue, but does so in a transparent, equitable way.

In other REBNY news:

May 15 is REBNY’s seminar, “The Secrets of Top Brokers and Industry Leaders.” This seminar is free, and for REBNY members only. Register at www.rebny.com, and for more information contact Jay Perez at yperez@rebny.com.
On May 29, REBNY is holding its 11th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast at the Hilton NY in the Grand Ballroom. Coffee will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and the program will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. For more information contact Cindy Ramotar at cramotar@rebny.com.
June 6 is the Residential Brokerage Division’s Downtown Roundtable, a discussion seminar where participants will spend approximately 20 minutes at a table before moving on to the next subject’s table. Registration is required, and for more information contact Yesenia Perez at yperez@rebny.com.
June 9 is the annual REBNY Spring Golf & Tennis Outing at the North Shore Country Club in Glen Head, a fun-filled day during which attendees will be able to network with each other and have a good time. Golf is $425, tennis is $315 and includes singles and doubles brunch, all-day is $225, dinner-only is $150, and a swimming pool is available to all. Each package includes cocktails and dinner, and sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Kathleen Gibbs at 212-616-5246, or kgibbs@rebny.com.
June 10 is the Real Estate Weekly Young Leaders’ Forum at National Bohemian Hall. Join over 350 real estate players for an annual summit highlighting the emerging players in real estate and finance. The forum is from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and more information can be found at www.rewyoungleadersforum.com.
June 10 is the Residential Brokerage Annual Owner/Manager Luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m at the New York Athletic Club at 180 Central Park South. The event is for REBNY members only and $35 per person, and for more information contact Indi Jaipal at ijaipal@rebny.com.
On June 10, the winners of the Retail Deal of the Year 2013 Awards will be announced at a cocktail party hosted by the Retail Committee. For more information, contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at JTaylor@rebny.com.
June 18 is the Brooklyn Committee’s cocktail event at the Brooklyn Winery from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at JTaylor@rebny.com.

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