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Addabbo bill would give Sandy victims tax relief

A state Senate bill seeks to ease property taxes for Hurricane Sandy victims.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A newly formed bipartisan task force is taking aim at Hurricane Sandy’s collateral damage as it looks to give property owners a tax break.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), a member of the task force, is co-sponsoring new legislation that would provide relief from property taxes for city homeowners whose properties were badly damaged by the October storm.

The bill, known as the New York City Hurricane Sandy Assessment Relief Act, would assist homeowners whose properties, as a result of damage from the storm, lost 50 percent or more of their assessed value. Property tax relief would be provided to homeowners based on the amount of damage sustained by their properties during Hurricane Sandy, and people whose homes lost all of their value as a result of the storm would not be assessed any property taxes at all.

“Property owners who are trying their best to put their lives and homes back together after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy should not have to worry about paying full property tax bills on houses that are horribly damaged, or in some cases, no longer exist,” said Addabbo. “Tax bills are based on the assessed value of the property, and if the property is in shambles and has lost most or all of its value, the tax burden must be reduced accordingly or eliminated. These people have already lost so much, they don’t need this additional financial and emotional burden.”

Addabbo said the percentage of loss in assessed value of the properties would be determined by the city Department of Finance, whose findings could be reviewed by the city Tax Commission if requested by the property owner. Homeowners seeking the assessment relief would need to submit a written request to the Finance Department for consideration within 90 days of the legislation being approved and signed into law by the governor.

The bill is now under consideration by the Senate Committee on Cities. In the state Assembly, the legislation is being reviewed by the Committee on Real Property Taxation.

Addabbo noted that he continues to be involved in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, both in his district — which was especially devastated by the storm — and in the state Legislature.

“This tax relief legislation seeks to address just one aspect of the many issues that have arisen in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and I know we will be taking action to remedy other concerns and problems related to the aftermath of the storm,” he said. “I hope that this bill, which would ease a financial burden on homeowners who are already suffering so many heartbreaking hardships, will get the legislative attention it deserves.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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