Want to Raise the Property Tax? Kiss that $400 Rebate Goodbye

In more flush times, Mayor Bloomberg took two separate high-profile steps related to property taxes in the city: he lowered the tax rate by 7 percent, and he gave homeowners citywide a $400 rebate.

Now with the economic storm clouds rolling in, Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly suggested in the past week that he might eliminate that 7 percent cut, bringing in another $600 million or so in revenue to the city.

As for the $400 rebate, which is viewed by critics as an act that emphasized buying political goodwill more than sound policy, the mayor apparently seems reticent to remove it. From The Times today:

"One thing that Mr. Bloomberg seemed reluctant to embrace, however, was eliminating a separate $400 property tax rebate. The property tax and the rebates are linked under a state law, though the law could be changed to keep the $400 rebate in place. Eliminating the rebates would not make much of a dent in the deficit.

‘That’s not a particularly great solution to the problem,’ Mr. Bloomberg said."

But, at least according to the law as currently written, if the mayor rescinded the 7 percent tax cut, he would have to eliminate the rebate (which would bring in somewhere around $250 million in revenue), or at least very close to it.

From the legislation, which would require going to Albany to change:

WHERE THE SUM  TO  BE  RAISED  BY  SUCH  INCREASE IS LESS THAN SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY  MILLION DOLLARS, THEN SUCH REBATE SHALL BE REDUCED BY  FIFTY  CENTS  FOR  EACH DOLLAR OF INCREASE, AND WHERE THE SUM TO BE RAISED BY SUCH INCREASE  IS  SEVEN  HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE, THEN SUCH REBATE SHALL BE ELIMINATED.
Want to Raise the Property Tax? Kiss that $400 Rebate Goodbye