As the newly appointed Chair of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation, Assemblywoman Jaime Williams shared useful information for property owners and renters at last month’s meeting of the Marine Park Community Association.
“In this year’s budget, the governor spoke about trying to get 800,000 affordable homes – housing throughout the state,” Williams said.
The move may present challenges for Real Property Taxes because the governor is considering changing the zoning laws for Long Island and Upstate New York for people who have extra parcels of land attached to their property, allowing them to build multiple dwellings to create affordable housing in exchange for tax credits, among other incentives.
Williams feels it an abuse of power. “You are taking away the rights of the small towns as to what they want to build in their community,” she said. “We want, once this happens or if it happens, that at the end, the first thing is that the small towns have a say in what is happening at the table.”
Throughout the state, property owners and homeowners that aren’t able to pay their property taxes are getting foreclosed in places like Erie County where their interest rate is 18%, counter to the idea of increasing affordable housing if people are losing their homes.
“So I always say that if we want to make affordable housing and keep people in their homes, then we have to do something with property taxes that are not being paid, and even in some conditions, lower the interest rate because it is just too high,” Williams said.
She also talked about how the influx of immigrants coming into NYC on a daily basis, combined with the need for affordable housing, is an incentive for developers to build. Other alternative solutions such as redeveloping closed business spaces into affordable housing are also being considered.
“My committee that I chair, the Real Property Taxes, has a very big role to play in this housing statewide,” Williams said, reminding them that the 59th Assembly District is primarily homeowners and she has always stood up for property owners and the rights of the community, especially when people try to move in and do other things.
When asked what could be done about rising property taxes in Marine Park, Williams said that many people were shocked by the increase in their assessments this year. Property taxes went up, but that was because property values went up as well.
She noted that city taxes have not been touched on for a while and expressed her concerns to Program and Counsel. They would like to see roundtables around NYC to hear from people about their struggles. She is waiting for a proposal submitted under former Mayor Bill de Blasio regarding a reassessment of NYC property taxes, but she can’t move forward until the governor or mayor addresses this.
Williams said that the Good Cause Eviction bill is being pushed in Albany and is part of a broader housing package that offers rent protection by prohibiting eviction without good cause and capping rent increases, among other things.
A hot political issue, local homeowners are receiving mailings from those on one side of the issue to contact their elected officials to vote “No” on Good Cause Eviction while progressives fight for its passage.
“Now, the Good Cause Eviction, I am not a supporter of that,” Williams said. She felt that it was stripping away the incentive to invest in properties or for developers to want to build here.
“Are you going to want to take your own money to build just because of humanitarian feelings?” she asked? “I don’t know, so these are just some of the questions that some of us have and it’s not just New York City, but New York State.”