Property Tax Reform Advisory Commission Named



Commission, to be co-chaired by Vicki Been and Marc Shaw, will develop proposals to make property taxes more fair, straightforward, and transparent


On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Johnson announced the formation of a new advisory commission, co-chaired by Vicki Been and Marc Shaw, to develop recommendations to reform New York City’s property tax system to make it simpler, clearer, and fairer, while ensuring that there is no reduction in revenue used to fund essential City services. The commission will solicit input from the public by holding at least 10 public hearings. The last in-depth review of the system by a government-appointed commission was in 1993.


The Commissioner of the Department of Finance Jacques Jiha, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Melanie Hartzog, Director of the City Council Finance Division Latonia McKinney, and Deputy Director and Chief Economist Council Finance Division Raymond Majewski will serve as non-voting ex-officio members.


“To be the fairest big city, you need a fair tax system. For too long, New York City taxpayers have had to grapple with a property tax system that is too opaque, too complex, and just feels unfair,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers need property tax reform, and this advisory commission will put us on the road to achieve it.”


“This is an important first step towards addressing inequities in this city’s broken property tax system. It is crucial that we work to bring clarity and fairness to this process, which has long perplexed the public and left many feeling hoodwinked by the city government tasked with representing them. The Council looks forward to rolling up our sleeves and addressing this long-standing problem,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.


Vicki Been is the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Previously Been served for three years as Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York, where she led the 2400-person agency in: designing and implementing Housing New York, a comprehensive strategy for addressing the City’s need for affordable housing. Been has written extensively about New York City’s property tax system and its primary abatement and exemption programs.


Marc V. Shaw is the Interim Chief Operating Officer for CUNY. Shaw also serves as the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for Budget, Finance, and Fiscal Policy, as well as Chair of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance.  Previously, he served as a Senior Advisor to Governor David Paterson, Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning at Extell Development Company and First Deputy Mayor to Michael Bloomberg.


Also announced today, advisory commission members include:


Carol O’Cleireacain is an Adjunct Professor at the Milano Graduate School for Mangement & Urban Policy at the New School, a Senior Consultant to the Brookings Institution’s Task Force on the State Budget Crisis, and Of Counsel to the LIATI Group, a boutique merchant bank, which focuses on public infrastructure investments. O’Cleireacain has a long history in public service, with appointments as Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy Planning and Strategy (Detroit), Deputy State Treasurer (NJ), Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management & Budget, and Commissioner of the NYC Department of Finance.


Felice Michetti is Chairperson and CEO of Grenadier Realty Corp, one of the largest affordable housing owner and operators in New York State. Michetti also serves on the board of the Community Preservation Corporation. Previously, she served as Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation under Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani. Michetti served as First Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation under Mayor Koch.


James Parrott is Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies at The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School. In previous positions, Parrott worked for the Fiscal Policy Institute, the Office of the State Deputy Comptroller for New York City, the City of New York (as chief economist for economic development), and for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.


Gary Rodney is Chairman of City Real Estate Advisors (CREA LLC), a low-income housing tax credit syndicator. As Chairman, Rodney works with the senior management team of CREA and its partners to help finance quality affordable housing in cities across the country. Prior to assuming this role, Rodney served as the President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation.


Elizabeth Velez is President and Chief Contract Administrator of the Velez Organization and is on a number of construction-related boards, including the New York Building Congress, the National Hispanic Business Group, the Association of Minority Enterprises of New York (AMENY), the Mayor’s Commission on Construction Opportunity, the Board of ACE Mentor of New York and the NYC Department of Business Services Advisory Board.


The advisory commission will evaluate all aspects of the current property tax system with an eye to transparency, efficiency and fairness.  Its comprehensive review will include, but not be limited to:


  • The tax classification system;
  • The methods of determining property market values and assessments;
  • Treatment of property value increases;
  • Relief for low-income and senior homeowners; and
  • Method of calculating tax rates.


The advisory commission’s recommendations may include changes that could be made at the City level, as well as those that would require state legislation.  The commission will also review comparable property tax systems across the nation, including different methods for property valuation and homeowner protections.


Property taxes are an important component of a local government’s tax base – in New York City, they make up 45 percent of the local tax base – and are essential to quality service delivery.  New York City’s current property tax system is set forth in state law and has been in existence for nearly four decades.  Its complex structure classifies properties into multiple categories, referred to as tax classes, and contains provisions that govern fractional assessments, market valuation restrictions, and caps on growth, among other things.  Application of the various provisions of state law can result in differences in taxes paid on properties, which may become more pronounced with the passage of time.

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