Letters to the editor

Keep co-op tax abatement, ammend J-51


This was oringally sent to Speaker Sheldon Silver. I am writing to you about A.10071 and A.10798.  As you know, A.10071 extends tax abatement for co-op and condo owners.  This is similar to legislation that we have passed every few years to help alleviate some of the inequity facing class 2 property owners in New York City.  A.10798, introduced at the end of the legislative session, has many provisions, including the extension of the co-op/condo tax abatement, the 421a program, the J-51 program and the Loft Law.

Renewing the co-op/condo tax abatement is a top priority of mine and I was very disappointed that, for the first time, we failed to do so before the end of the legislative session.  Although I am a multi-sponsor of A.10798 I am not pleased that the extension of the J-51 giveaway to landlords is tied to the tax abatement renewal. 

While I strongly support the extension and expansion of the tax abatement for co-op and condo owners, I am not a supporter of the J-51 program. I know that all-too-often unrelated issued are tied together, but I think passing the stand-alone bill, A.10071, is much better public policy.  

Although I prefer this stand-alone bill, I would be much more comfortable with an amended version of A.10798 if the J-51 renewal included provisions for additional protections of renters.  Among the possible additions to the language relating to J-51 are reforms of the Rent Guidelines Board to make it more accountable to tenants, designating all rent-controlled apartments as rent stabilized so that they would receive the Rent Guidelines Board increases each year instead of the automatic 7.5 percent increase, protection of tenants with preferential rents from large rent increases, and major changes in MCI increases so that the increases last only until a landlord has recouped the cost of an MCI increase.

I strongly urge that the co-op/condo tax abatement be addressed later this year in a possible Special Session and that renters not be left out in the cold in any efforts to renew J-51.  Thank you.