Mark A. Willis Testifies at Public Hearing for the NYC Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform

News & Events | October 16th 2018

On Monday, October 15th, 2018, Mark A. Willis, a Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center, testified at the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform Public Hearing.

This hearing was held as a part of the NYC Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform’s efforts to evaluate the current property tax system in New York City, and recommend reforms to make it fairer, simpler, and more transparent. The co-chairs of the commission are Professor Vicki Been and Marc Shaw.

Willis’ first experience with NYC Property Tax stems from his work at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and his time as a consultant for a Department of Finance (DOF) study on “Real Property Tax Policy for New York City”. His testimony focused on the causes of disparities among assessment ratios and effective tax rates within and across property classes, and provided recommendations to improve the property tax system.

First, Willis outlined the three main causes of disparities in the property tax system: a) caps on how fast the assessed values of individual properties can increase; b) limitations on changes in the share of the levy that can be apportioned to each of the four classes; and c) divergence between actual sales prices and the DOF’s estimates of market values. He then recommends four reforms to be phased in gradually that will yield fairer and more transparent results.

Other witnesses testifying included Stephen Levin, Council member for the 33rd District of the NYC City Council; Chaim Deutsch, Council member for the 48th Council District; Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York; and Jumaane Williams, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York and Council member for the 45th Council District.

Watch a video of the hearing below or read Mark Willis’ remarks.

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