De Blasio, Cuomo seek tax relief for Sandy-hit NYC homeowners

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the NY Rising Conference at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Philip Kamrass

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New York City homeowners who rebuilt houses wrecked by superstorm Sandy would pay property taxes at 2013 levels under a bill being drafted in Albany and supported by the mayor and governor.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who traveled to Albany Wednesday to tout the proposal, said homeowners whose assessments rose because the restoration is considered an improvement under assessed valuation shouldn't have to pay more.

"Bang! They'd be hit with the tax increase. We want to make sure that doesn't happen. Folks who have finally gotten their homes back together did it after immense struggle," de Blasio said. "They were able, over a year and a half, to finally get themselves back on their feet. We don't want to have them hit with yet another challenge."

The bill, which would apply only to New York City, is being drafted, and backers are working on who in the legislature would be sponsors, de Blasio said. He said he's "optimistic" that the bill would pass.

The tax relief is for a year and would be reconsidered next year. If it's not passed in time, excess taxes paid would be credited in the next bill.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo supports such a bill. A news release from de Blasio's office included statements from legislative leaders favoring the tax relief.

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In cases where a restoration increased the square footage of the building, the law "provides for a proportional decrease in the amount of the abatement to reflect the increase in the square footage of the building," the mayor's office said in a statement.

With Yancey Roy

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