What is driving up NY property taxes now? What can you do about it?
Storms, Flooding & Disasters
There have been some temporary breaks for New York homeowners who have been hit by recent storms and flooding. That is if they can successfully navigate the system and get their applications approved. Yet, sooner or later deferred costs can catch up with everyone, especially with emergency service overtime, and the need to rebuild and repair infrastructure.
High Government Worker Salaries
Recent analysis by the New York Post points to high personnel costs as one of the leading factors in high property taxes. This is particularly true on Long Island and in Nassau County, where police officers can earn $200,000 to $400,000 per year. Of course we want our law enforcement to be great, and for them to be fairly compensated. However, it is currently a vicious circle, with high housing prices and property taxes requiring public servants to be paid even more to keep great talent around.
Abandoned and distressed homes continue to be a big drain on the property tax base. So much so that Babylon has been the latest to institute a zombie home registry to fight the blight and hold banks and owners accountable for failing to maintain properties and pay property taxes.
Homes on which owners owe more on their mortgages than the property is worth often end up feeding the pipeline of abandoned zombie homes. Often owners give up paying the mortgage, and property taxes too. Then everyone else has to bear that burden. Fortunately, the number of these properties on Long Island continues to fall according to a new report.
While new housing construction may sometimes have the potential to alleviate housing affordability issues, it also tends to set new records for housing prices. We’ve recently seen a big jump in construction in New York, and coming right behind it could be even higher property tax assessments.
The Property Tax System
Although all of the above are organic factors which will continue putting upward pressure on property taxes, by far the biggest issue in New York is the inequality in the system. It’s broken, we all know it, not much has been done to even attempt to fix it. A new group of industry professionals and property owners filed a lawsuit against the Department of Finance, Office of Real Property Tax Services and state earlier this year. That may already be crushed by a motion to dismiss the case.
This continues to leave the best and often only solution for individual New York property owners as getting professional help to challenge their individual tax assessments and bills.