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Case Studies in New York 
City Property 
Presented By: 
Scott Baker 
Besides natural resources, there is all important location. 
Do you recognize this island? 
How about now…? 
But the city’s growth is slowing 
According to the New York Post, the exodus from the city has been going on f...
parking lots Midtown 
subway stations 
...on the Upper 
55-63 Bleecker St. 
82 x 100 
LV: $859,000 
BV: $1,725,000 
LV psf: $110 
In this zip, parcels 3 stories or le...
2549 Broadway 
LV: $2,300,000 
BV: $1,014,000 
LV psf: $914 
Next door: 
2541-2547 Broadway 
7 st...
The 8 vacant lots that make up this parking lot pay 1/10th 
the property tax of the 286-unit building in back ...
The High Line Park leads to 
High Real Estate Values 
“Michael R. Bloomberg, proclaim(ed) that preserving the ...
And what about the future, if sea levels rise due to Global 
Warming? Who should pay for protection from the w...
Tax Breaks for Billionaires 
“The millionaires buying apartments in a soaring tower rising on 
57th St. will ...
Why can’t we just Build our way out of this Mess? 
‘“It is not enough to simply build more market rate housin...
At current assessments and rates, land values account for 
just 18.1% of New York City's municipal tax revenu...
Support from the Local Media 
- from Curbed: 
 Hudson Yards Watch: As expected...
Support from the NYC Bar Association 
On Page 67 of the 2013 NYC Bar Association Policy Recommendations 
For ...
Other Land Reform Bills 
 Bill #A7314A – “An act to amend the real property tax law, in 
relation to requiri...
Helpful Websites 
 and - Common Ground-...
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Case studies in new york city property development with comments


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Showing the relationship between taxes on land and development in NYC, present and proposed

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Case studies in new york city property development with comments

  1. 1. 7/14/14 1 Case Studies in New York City Property Development Presented By: Scott Baker SSBAKER305@YAHOO.COM Public money for private benefit? An examination of development projects in New York City, and evaluation of economic benefits given to encourage development, with emphasis on current and future policy options. Which one Is the most valuable? In the beginning…of this slideshow… It’s worth remembering that what nature gives us for free is so valuable that life could not exist without it. None of these resources were created by a land owner! They are part our commons and those who use them should pay rent.
  2. 2. 7/14/14 2 Besides natural resources, there is all important location. Do you recognize this island? How about now…? NYC is the Most densely Populated place in the USA – 26,953 people per square mile* And the most densely productive place as well - Over $1 billion in GDP per square mile * 2010 census OK, back to reality, and today. The city seems crowded, but is it really?
  3. 3. 7/14/14 3 But the city’s growth is slowing According to the New York Post, the exodus from the city has been going on for decades: “The movement from high-tax, high-housing-cost states to low-tax, low-housing-cost states has been going on for more than 40 years ... From 1970 to 2010, the population of New York state rose from 18 million to 19 million. In that same period, the population of Texas grew from 11 million to 25 million.” …and the rent is too damn high! Jimmy McMillan, perennial Candidate for NYC Mayor and NY Governor, from the Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Party So... Is New York City Full? 6% of the buildable land - 154,000 acres - in New York City is classified as Vacant. 6% is 9,240 acres in the 5 boroughs, including 2.6% or 282 acres Vacant, and 1.9% or 206 acres, with no information, in Manhattan! - NYC Department of Planning Full? Not Hardly! Surface parking lots Midtown ...beside subway stations But vacant land is just the beginning. Much more land is grossly underused. Source: fleeing-the-nightmarish-northeast/ A 2007 study by the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer tallied 1,723 vacant buildings and 505 vacant lots in Manhattan alone. “In New York today we have a booming real estate market and a terrible shortage of affordable housing,” explained Mr. Stringer. “Yet there are still perverse incentives in place that encourage speculators to hold vacant property rather than build. That may serve some private interests, but it sure doesn’t serve the public interest. We’ve got to change the system.” Source: landusefacts/landusefactshome.shtml: “Vacant Land Approximately six percent of the city’s land is classified as vacant. Staten Island has the most vacant land with more than 4,200 acres.“ Are we against parking lots? No... If it's legal to drive cars in the city, and people are willing to pay to park them, parking lots would have to be OK, wouldn't they? But, this is an extraordinarily valuable corner lot in midtown Manhattan. Highest and best use is suggested by the neighboring buildings (note the lack of windows in the next-door building)! But aren't we concerned about open space? Sure! That's important. But who should make such decisions? Surface parking lots don't really count as usable public space! For example: Community gardens are long-abandoned lots that have been improved by local residents. But they aren't secure! The market can reclaim them whenever it wants, despite the community's hard work on them.
  4. 4. 7/14/14 4 Surface parking lots Midtown ...beside subway stations Boarded-up buildings ...on the Upper East Side ...beside subway stations Full? Not Hardly! 1-story “taxpayers” up-and-coming neighborhoods Park Ave. South & 29th Street Four lots sold for a combined $31 million in 2006. The four old buildings were torn down. So, the land value psf is $2,159. But the city says it was $502 psf, less than ¼ of what it sold for! Who is pocketing the difference? When the Land Rent goes down, the Land Price goes up. 1185-1193 Broadway Lot: 79 x 86 ft. LV psf: $753 BV: $2,912,000 LV: $5,000,000 Value: $7,912,000 In this zip code, for parcels with 4 stories or less, Average sale price psf: $2,322 Value: $15,775,668 Average # of stories: 8 Here's a corner lot in Brooklyn's “Carroll Gardens” neighborhood - formerly “Red Hook,” it has been re-christened with a name that more befits its investment potential. Note, again, that the neighboring building doesn't expect its upper stories to have a view in this direction. A “taxpayer” is a user of a parcel of land that brings in sufficient income to pay the property taxes (and possibly make a bit of profit). All three of these lots are examples of “taxpayers.” You can see this in your own life. Most people would consider an otherwise equal co-op that cost $300,000 and had maintenance charges of $3,000/month to be less valuable than one that cost $350,000 but had maintenance of $1,500/month. Over time (under 3 years), the lower maintenance (rent) will offset the higher initial cost of the second co-op. If the first co-op keeps maintenance at $3,000/month, they will need to lower the price of the co-op to attract buyers in a competitive market. Here is a similar and actual example: 301 EAST 63RD ST. Apt. 6A (between First Ave, and Second Ave) PRICE: $185,000, MAINTENANCE: $812, ASSESMENT (to pay off a land purchase): $903. Notice how the Assessment + Maintenance lowers the Price. Comparable units in this neighborhood go for ~$360,000. Now, imagine if that instead of paying an Assessment, this money was paid as a Land Rent to the city. It makes no economic difference to the resident what the charge is called. However, with this change, housing would be more affordable, though less speculative…which is a good thing for the city overall! This is why raising the land rent does NOT drive out affordable housing. Let’s take a look at some properties near busy subway stops, using the city’s assessments, that are guaranteed to have heavy foot traffic and to be commercially attractive. This is a property near a busy subway stop, yet it is grossly under-utilized, and under-taxed.
  5. 5. 7/14/14 5 55-63 Bleecker St. 82 x 100 LV: $859,000 BV: $1,725,000 LV psf: $110 In this zip, parcels 3 stories or less, Average sale price psf: $2,012 - roughly 18X the assessed LV psf! Average # of stories: 5 Let's get to the nitty-gritty: McDonald's looks for intersections with traffic signals — typically corners of two well-trafficked streets — and ample parking. Most people don't realize it, but McDonald's is not a burger-flipping restaurant chain; it is one of the world's best real estate portfolios. Franchisees flip the burgers. McDonald's simply owns the best commercial property all over the world and collects 8% annual royalty fees from its tenants on top of rental income equivalent to about 10% of the sales. From November 2002-July 2014, McDonald's dividend has risen 425% and their stock price by 5X! Much of what passes for profit is really indirectly collected land rent. McDonald's near a subway stop: 114 Delancey Lot size: 65’ x 100’ BV: $3,427,000 LV: $2,000,000 LV psf $307 In this zip, parcels 3 stories or less, Average sale price psf: $1,571 Average # of stories: 5 Here is another grossly under-utilized property. Note the outline on the building next door of what used to be a 4-story building in this location. We are going backwards! OK, so what’s in it for the big landowners? How does this actually work? Does McDonald’s win or lose when its franchisee goes out of business, leaving behind the property to be sold? Additional Source: Corporate Real Estate Strategies – A Multinational Approach By: Pedro Manuel Costa dos Reis Ferreira Student Number: 15000164 Wednesday, 06 January 2010 - bitstream/10362/10298/1/Ferreira.P_2010.pdf – “McDonald’s operates as a real estate company because it owns the land and buildings in many of its franchised locations across the world. While the royalty ranged around 4% (presently 8.5%) of the sales, rental income was equivalent to about 10% of the sales on top of the royalties paid by the franchisees. This makes McDonald’s more a property owner, than a conventional fast-food chain.”
  6. 6. 7/14/14 6 McDonald’s: 2549 Broadway LV: $2,300,000 BV: $1,014,000 LV psf: $914 Next door: 2541-2547 Broadway 7 stories, 76x100 on corner LV psf: $568 (?!?) sold in 2005 for $14.5 million. Went co-op in 2007; Units sell for $1 mil+ In this zip, parcels 4 stories or less, Average sale price psf: $1,781 Average # of stories: 6 Dunkin Donuts: 737-747 4th Avenue Lot: 100x150 LV: $225,000 BV: $1,323,000 LV psf: $15 (!) In this zip: average sale price psf of a vacant lot: $337 – over 22X more than assessed LV! Number of lots, vacant or 1 story: 513 515 & 517 East 138 St. LV psf: $28 179 Vacant lots in this zip code, Average sale price psf: $191 Average sale value: $1,403,322 301 East 139th St. Current property tax: $300 for the entire lot! What happens when properties near McDonalds sell? Is being next to a McDonalds really worth so much, or are there other locational factors? I’m not just picking on McDonald’s! What is the incentive to develop any of these properties? There is none from the meager property tax.
  7. 7. 7/14/14 7 The 8 vacant lots that make up this parking lot pay 1/10th the property tax of the 286-unit building in back on a 34% smaller lot! # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Desperate Landowners call for desperate measures* “Super-tall spire OK'd to rise over landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approves Extell Development's plan to cantilever its new residential tower over the neighboring American Fine Arts Society Building. It will include NYC's first Nordstrom and a hotel. With the city's OK, Extell will now be able to extend the tower, 215 W. 57th St., 28 feet to the east so that it overhangs the American Fine Arts Society Building.” – Crain’s newspaper * Only “desperate” to make more money! Land Owners Pay a lot for Air Rights, but the ones who prosper are those who use Land least efficiently. In this case that’s the two 3-story buildings under the new construction. Looking at the West side of Third Avenue between 21 & 22 streets  n  N Note the vacant lot off to the left, near the older high rise. Low-density properties are under-taxed and there is no incentive to build higher density buildings. 13 units from 266-274 Third Avenue occupy 71% of the land of 39 Gramercy Park around the corner, but pay just 19% of the property tax. Conclusion: Vacant properties are under-taxed and there is no incentive to build. The fully built building on 34% less land area is paying 10 times as much property tax. We’re going to be hearing more about Extell Development… This residential tower is 100 feet taller than the Empire State Building! Sources: will-cantilever-over-landmarked-art-students-league The large brick apartment building on the corner has 95 units and the 2 small buildings next to it have only 13 units, but it’s the 2 small buildings that collect air-rights rent from the large building currently under construction beside and above them!
  8. 8. 7/14/14 8 The High Line Park leads to High Real Estate Values “Michael R. Bloomberg, proclaim(ed) that preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park… All of that commerce more than makes up for the $115 million the city has spent on the park and the deals it has made to encourage developers to build along the High Line…the price of apartments had doubled since the park opened, to about $2,000 a square foot.” – NY Times, The High Line Isn’t Just a Sight to See; It’s Also an Economic Dynamo A new park is great! But aren’t the real questions: • Why is the city spending money to benefit a handful of already rich land owners, when charging them a Land Value Tax (really, a rent on the Land), would have brought in enough to build the park in the first place? • And, is it really charity when land owners give a million to build a park and then gain 10s of millions when they sell their land? Isn’t that just another investment at taxpayer expense? Who profits when the Subway comes to a neighborhood? “…the steady progress of the subway's 7-train extension and the northern encroachment of the High Line is turning the area around the Hudson Yards into one big real estate boomtown. The Times reports that more than 5,000 apartments have been built and more than $5 billion in private development has been invested in the area between 28th and 43rd Streets west of 8th Avenue since it was rezoned in 2005.” - Curbed If development in this neighborhood is so lucrative, why do they need tax breaks? And who is paying for the subway extension? “The (EDC’s) Industrial Development Agency is expected to clear a big tax discount for a portion of Related Cos.' vast Hudson Yards project…a 20-year long 40% property tax break for a 1 million-square-foot mall and 2.4 million-square-foot office spire. Related could realize $328 million in savings from the exemption…Fiscal watchdogs say that the break is especially problematic given the city plans to use tax revenue from the Hudson Yards to pay off the over $2 billion cost of extending the No. 7 subway to the site. Between 2006 and 2012, the city spent $137 million servicing the bonds for the No. 7 line, and is girding itself to spend…$155.6 million in 2013 and 2014.” – Crain’s Profits from the Sea too… “The East River Ferry has caused total property values in Brooklyn and Queens waterfront neighborhoods to soar by hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new study. The service, which launched in 2011, led to a jump in home values within an eighth of a mile of its stops by 8 percent above the normal market rate, according to an analysis by the city Economic Development Corporation. And it has increased total property value by $500 million for all homes within a mile of its stops. “You really see the connection in the uptick in sales prices,” said Kathleen Perkins, a broker at Douglas Elliman. “It’s a huge draw for the river communities.” She added the ferry is a boost for luring Manhattanites across the river...” – NY Post Who Profits from the new ferry service? The Riders? The Residents? Or, the Land Owners? Shouldn’t those who profit also pay for the service? What about parks? Would they get over-developed in a Land Value Tax scenario? No, because they add value to the surrounding buildings and so would be encouraged, and not developed. Sources: Development Land Rush Around Hudson Yards and 7 Train archives/2012/04/04/ development_land_rush_around_hudson_yards_and_ 7_train.php $330M tax break expected for Hudson Yards http:// REAL_ESTATE/131019954 commercial/development-flourishes-in-manhattans-hudson- yards-district.html Source: sends-property-values-soaring/
  9. 9. 7/14/14 9 And what about the future, if sea levels rise due to Global Warming? Who should pay for protection from the water then? “As temperatures continue to rise, so will sea levels, and the increase of both temperature and sea levels will increase the risk of large storm tide events. According to the NYC Panel on Climate Change (“NPCC”), our sea level is expected to rise between 15 and 75 inches by the 2100s. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm tide.” – Southern Manhattan Coastal Protection Study, May 2014 In response, NYC plans to build an elevated multi-purpose levy in lower Manhattan If the landowner gains newly created land to build upon, shouldn’t he pay rent for its creation and upkeep? Yet, President Obama recently signed an order to roll back national flood insurance rate hikes that were put in place after Hurricane Sandy. Who gains? Is that fair? Who profits when leaseholds on Land are resold? “Extell Development is selling the leasehold on 20 E. 46th St. The company's brokers said it hopes to fetch about $25 million for the 15-story property. That would be about 44% more than Extell shelled out when it acquired the leasehold in 2006 for $17.4 million. The lease for the building extends for 31 years… ‘It [the building] is in a great location,’ (said the broker).” – Crain’s, Aug, 2012 Tax Class: 4 (commercial property) Tax Rate: 10.3% Market Value: $19,986,000 Assessed Value: $7,249,410 Land Assessed Value: $3,492,000 If land is under-assessed, the rental profits go to the leaseholder, or sales profits if they sell. Why would anyone pay over $90 million for an apartment? “Extell Development Company, which is building One57, said that the buyers of the first nine full-floor apartments — plus two duplex penthouses — were all billionaires. The top-floor penthouse, which spans nearly 11,000 square feet, sold for about $95 million, a city record. The full-floor apartments…have open views of Central Park. High-end real estate has become a magnet for the world’s superrich, who are looking for better investment returns and a safe haven from thornier economic conditions in their home countries…A lot of what is happening at One57 is about wealth preservation” – NY Times Wealth preservation?! For whom?! What about taxes on that property for services they use too?! “Places like One57, 15 Central Park West and Plaza Hotel are another New York entirely, one for the ultrawealthy with a primary residence elsewhere, for whom a $55 million condo is a pied-à-terre and just another place to park their wealth. Mr. de Blasio’s proposal would have little, if any, effect on them. They pay no city income tax and comparatively low property taxes even as the city’s services prop up the value of their trophy real estate.” – NY Times “In New York, by contrast (to foreign cities like London which now taxes foreign investors and offshore entities), buyers of new construction often qualify for a tax abatement. At One57, currently the city’s most expensive new address, the tax break amounts to around 94 percent. A Times analysis estimated that its priciest penthouse, which is reportedly in contract for more than $90 million, would initially be billed less than $1,500 a month.” – NY Magazine, Stash Pad Source: Southern Manhattan Coastal Protection Study: Evaluating the Feasibility of A Multi-Purpose Levy, May, 2014, “Flood insurance fix may end up being no fix at all” - According to the Coastal Protection Study, only the most densely built-upon new levy would end up being self-funding, but shouldn’t the real question be why would ANY levy be built with commercial interests that couldn’t pay for the improvement? Why should the general public pay for new land to be developed at all? Sources: ExemptionDetails.aspx; East Side building hits the market—with big hitch REAL_ESTATE/120809938#article_tab Sources: rising-tower-in-manhattan-takes-on-sheen-as-billionaires- haven.html taxing-new-yorkers-but-not-the-ultrarich.html new-york-real-estate-2014-6/
  10. 10. 7/14/14 10 Tax Breaks for Billionaires “The millionaires buying apartments in a soaring tower rising on 57th St. will get more than sweeping views of Central Park: They’ll also be eligible for massive city tax breaks. So will the homeowners and builders of four other luxury Manhattan condo and rental developments. Language quietly inserted into a bill that sailed through the state Legislature singled out the five developments to make them eligible for tax breaks — which could cost the city tens of millions of dollars in property taxes... The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), defended the tax breaks, saying the projects would create jobs and boost the economy. …the Assembly sponsor, Keith Wright (D-Manhattan), said he knew little about the tax breaks. “These five properties — it was important that they benefit from the piece of legislation probably, and I don’t know why, because some of the folks in the Senate wanted them to be included.” – The Daily News, writing about the newly designated “Billionaire’s Row” on mid-57 street. “These buildings will make a lot of money for developers,” Assemblywoman (Linda) Rosenthal said. “And that’s their right. But we need something back.” – The New York Times, A Packed Forum for a Rising Concern: New Skyscrapers Near Central Park What happens when the Rent is Privatized? Who is left homeless when Billionaires buy and sell lightly taxed properties among themselves? What happens when the Rent is Privatized? …Oh, and another thing: there are more than enough vacant apartments, in abandoned buildings, to house all the street homeless persons, including 1/3 of whom who are children. Citywide, underutilized vacant property could house the entire city shelter population five times over at a cheaper cost than city-supported housing programs. “In 2005, New York City spent $709 million to provide shelter to…an average shelter population of 34,000* a night… Many city policies encourage landlords to keep their buildings empty. As neighborhoods gentrify, many speculating landlords choose to keep buildings empty so that they can rent them at a future date and charge far higher rents.” – Picture the Homeless Total number of Homeless Families: 40,000 Total number of vacant buildings: 3,551 Total number of vacant lots: 2,489 Total Housing Potential in vacant buildings & lots: 199,981 Note: this survey only surveyed 1/3 of the city and under-counted vacant lots by over 10-fold. – Picture the Homeless, from a 2012 survey conducted with Hunter College. * As of April, 2014, 54,667 on average stay nightly in city shelters, up 75% since 2002, at a cost of >$800m – Coalition for the Homeless, DNAinfo Sources: uptown/big-tax-breaks-mandated-millionaires- nyc-digs-article-1.1375297 a-packed-forum-for-a-rising-concern-new-skyscrapers- near-central-park.html shadows-plutocracy/ Enough about Billionaires…what about the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum? Source:, http://, city-homeless-shelter-spending-surge-800- million-dollars_n_2831909.html – the number of vacant lots city-wide is actually over 10X as much as this in-person survey suggests, according to the NYC Dept of Finance database, but even at just 2,489 lots, when added to the number of vacant buildings, that is far more than enough to house the homeless. So, why isn’t this being done?
  11. 11. 7/14/14 11 Why can’t we just Build our way out of this Mess? ‘“It is not enough to simply build more market rate housing in hopes of…supplying more than the demand,” write the authors of the housing chapter of Toward a 21st Century City for All. From 2000 to 2010, New York’s housing supply grew at more than twice the rate of the city’s population. “If we could build our way out of our affordability crisis…[costs and rents] should have gone down.” Yet as the authors point out, they did not…. From the days of Henry George in the nineteenth century, New York’s progressive politicians have tried to recapture the vast—and totally unearned—income created by the rise in land values. But none have succeeded: even today, when projects like the Hudson Yards and the No. 7 subway extension prompt huge increases in values, only a tiny portion ends up in the city’s coffers.’ - What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From New York City’s Last Radical Mayor, The Nation - D.D. Guttenplan What happened to the Law of Supply and Demand? Even with all the exemptions, under-assessments, and tax breaks, the city is collecting more property tax revenue than ever and construction is booming (though mostly at the high end). Why then is living in New York City so expensive, even unaffordable? Well, what about other taxes and costs? If taxes and costs – as a percentage of income – are so much higher for the middle and working classes, is it surprising that it is so hard for them to afford to live here? What are those other taxes…? What is the tax breakdown in New York City? At current assessments and rates, land values account for just 18.1% of New York City's municipal tax revenue. + Buildings: 24% - This is more than ½ the property tax & discourages building! + Personal Income: 19.4% - Discourages Working! + General Sales: 13.3% - Discourages buying! + Other: 25.2% - Discourages everything else! = Total: 100% That's not the way to ensure sensible, progressive economic development, a greener city, and full employment! What would be the effect of a tax policy that incentivized development & production, and disincentivized hoarding & speculating on land? It ought to be clear by now…we cannot simply let “the market” decide. Current policies favor landowners and high end buildings over moderate to low income buildings. Source: article/177822/what-bill-de-blasio-can-learn-new- york-citys-last-radical-mayor Although property taxes are climbing now, assessments have to be legally phased in for up to 5 years, so we may just be catching up to previous valuations. What is the damage of these wealth-destroying tax policies, including punitive taxes on building? What would happen if we reduced or eliminated all taxes that discourage production and replaced them with taxes on land alone?
  12. 12. 7/14/14 12 At current assessments and rates, land values account for just 18.1% of New York City's municipal tax revenue. Buildings: 24% Personal Income: 19.4% General Sales: 13.3% Other: 25.2% The tax upon land values is the most just and equal of taxes. It falls only on those who receive from society a peculiar and valuable benefit, and upon them in proportion to the benefit they receive. It is the taking of the community, for the use of the community, of that value which is the creation of the community.... When all rent is taken by taxation for the needs of the community, the equality that is ordained by nature will be attained. No citizen will have an advantage over any other citizen except what is given by his industry, skill and intelligence — and each will obtain what he fairly earns. — Henry George, Progress and Poverty What can be done to return the Land Rent to the Community? Who are our allies? Support from the National Media – You have to look for it, but it’s there “(Landlords) don't really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for…staying in boxes that these owners often didn't build and rarely if ever improve. In a few years, my landlord will probably sell my building to another landlord and make off with the appreciated value of the land s/he also claims to own – which won't even get taxed, as long as s/he ploughs it right back into more real estate. The value of the land has nothing to do with my idle, remote landlord; it reflects the nearby parks and subways and shops, which I have access to thanks to the community and the public. So why don't the community and the public derive the value and put it toward uses that benefit everyone? The most mainstream way of flipping the script is a simple land-value tax. By targeting wealthy real estate owners and their free rides, we can fight inequality and poverty directly, make disastrous asset price bubbles impossible and curb Wall Street's hideous bloat.” – Jesse Myerson, Rolling Stone Magazine - Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For This article generated over 10,000 comments! Henry George recognized the injustice of the tax code over a century ago, and ran for Mayor of NYC twice. Source: news/five-economic-reforms-millennials-should-be- fighting-for-20140103
  13. 13. 7/14/14 13 Support from the Local Media - from Curbed:  Hudson Yards Watch: As expected, a city agency approved a 20-year $328 million tax break for Related Companies' Hudson Yards megaproject. [Bloomberg]  Tax Breaks for the Rich: A housing bill extending tax breaks to low and middle income housing that just sailed through the state Legislature also contained language that made five new luxury developments, including One57, eligible for 421-a abatements. The bill's sponsors claim to not know where the language came from, but support the tax breaks nonetheless. The developers of the projects have given a combined $1.5 million to various state campaign committees over the past four years. [NY Daily News]  Fun with 421-a: Major changes are hitting the complicated 421-a tax abatement program next month. It's supposed to finance affordable housing, but it's also provided huge tax breaks for luxury housing. Now, the list of neighborhoods where they can be used is shrinking and "certificates" allowing developers to sell credits to, say, luxury developments, are being phased out. Some developers of affordable housing say chaos is coming. [NY Times - 2008] Support from Comptroller Scott Stringer Former Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, wrote in his annual report: Transforming Vacant Lots: Stalled Construction Sites “Unfinished construction sites and vacant properties litter New York City, leaving neighborhoods in flux and reducing our quality of life. In 2007, Borough President Stringer published “No Vacancy? The Role of Underutilized Properties in Meeting Manhattan’s Affordable Housing Needs.” The report found that in Manhattan 74 percent of vacant residential buildings and 71 percent of all vacant lots are located above 96th Street. Additionally, more than $100 million a year was being lost because vacant lots above 110th Street were taxed as Class 1 residential properties. Borough President Stringer issued a series of recommendations, including advocating for legislation to reform tax policy to spur development of vacant property and prioritize affordable housing. A year later, Governor David Paterson signed a bill authored by Assembly member Herman D. Farrell and State Senator Jose Serrano that amended the property tax equalizing the treatment of vacant land throughout Manhattan by taxing all vacant land as Class 4 property.” Support from Mayor Bill de Blasio for Taxing Vacant Land • Former Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s publication, Foundation for an Affordable City, second of 8 recommendations was to: “Create new development opportunities by unlocking the potential of vacant buildings, lots and accessory units.”  Crain’s article: De Blasio tells lot owners to put up or pay up “(Mayor) Bill de Blasio's bid to close a tax loophole could force landlords to build new housing on their vacant plots or sell out to those who will…If carried out, the idea would affect more than 10,500 lots in the five boroughs…(to) hike yearly rates by an average of $15,300 (and) generate $162 million annually.” How can we encourage Stringer and de Blasio to live up to their campaign promises? The 421-a abatement has been (ab)used to generate enormous profits for wealthy developers, but little truly affordable housing for everyone else. Source: release_details.asp?id=1838. We also need to change the Byzantine property class code system. Source: article/20131124/REAL_ESTATE/311249973
  14. 14. 7/14/14 14 Support from the NYC Bar Association On Page 67 of the 2013 NYC Bar Association Policy Recommendations For New York City’s Next Mayor report, they conclude: “The City taxes land and improvements to the property using the same rates and method. This may be counterproductive, as taxing improvements to a property may discourage investment in that property. For example, landlords may permit residential buildings to deteriorate rather than maintain and improve the buildings, thus contributing to the deterioration of neighborhoods and negatively affecting the quality of life for the families and neighborhoods involved. Other municipalities have contemplated and/or experimented with the “two-rate” or “split-rate” property tax reform…Over the long-term, the lower rate on buildings/structures has the potential to encourage economic development, increase available housing, and rejuvenate blighted neighborhoods while discouraging absentee landowners from forgoing improvements. This approach should be considered as part of a property tax review.” Support from the NYC Progressive Caucus In 13 bold ideas put out by the new Progressive Caucus, the caucus promotes affordable housing, and calls to: “Conduct an annual survey of vacant units and put them into productive use as affordable housing.” Bills that Transition to Taxing Land Start by taxing vacant land. No one is going to be displaced. We’ll just get new places to live and work. Examples of possible legislation are:  Assembly Bill #S06207-2008 – Passed - to omit the huge tax break for vacant and underutilized sites above 110th street.  Assembly Bill #A05671-2009 – Tabled - provides a fifth property class for vacant/underutilized sites.  City Council Bill Int 0048-2010 – Tabled - provides for the annual citywide Census of vacant and underutilized properties.  City Council Bill Int 0652-2011 – Tabled - provides for an annual Registration of vacant and underutilized properties in the five boroughs.  These 2 city council bills would help end the practice of holding valuable land out of service until the market rises, i.e. "Warehousing." Learn more from Common Ground-NYC’s e-petition: community The Lawyers support LVT! These bills were spearheaded by Scott Stringer’s Manhattan Borough office
  15. 15. 7/14/14 15 Other Land Reform Bills  Bill #A7314A – “An act to amend the real property tax law, in relation to requiring assessment disclosure notices in New York City to include a description of the method of assessment.”  Bill #A7327A – “An act to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring assessment rolls to be published on the department of finance website.  Bill #A7326A – “An act to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to requiring real property to be assessed using a fair comparative.” These bills are all sponsored by Assembly member Dan Quart. There are other examples of land reform! Contact your Assembly Member, Council Member, or State Senator. Three first steps to sensible reform 1. Place a higher tax on vacant land  There are 28,613 privately-owned vacant lots, 9,706 acres  The effective tax rate on their listed value is 0.97%  But they sell for almost 4x their listed market value 2. Shift Class 1 property taxes off buildings & onto land  Exempt the median value of a class 1 building from taxation  Collect the same revenue from the resulting taxable value (this will shift more tax onto land)  This penalizes underuse and speculation, and provides a tax break for responsible homeowners 3. Reform assessments in Classes 2 and 4  Assess real estate values by comparable sales, not by income streams  Use building-residual assessment method*  Assess condos as real-estate assets, not as apartments  Offset with reductions in income, commercial occupancy, and other taxes * “The building-residual approach starts by valuing the land, leaving the difference between the land price and the property’s market value to represent buildings.” – Michael Hudson More Long-Term Transition Proposals Shift NY state to Land Value Taxes and off of Taxes on Production and Improvements. This would lower taxes for most New York State residents, but raise them for a few land hoarders and speculators. See Prosper California - the inspiration for a Prosper New York tax-shift initiative. An archived website from April 5, 2011 can be found here: New York State version in progress… Be flexible! Other bills can get us to the promised Land! Assembly member Dan Quart’s website: http:// Common Ground-NYC’s e-petition: http:// value-property-using-a-reasonable-comparative Source: NYC Dept of Finance. Class 1 are 1-3 family homes. Class 2 are more than 3-family apartment buildings. Class 4 are commercial properties. Prosper California was an attempt to put on the California ballot an initiative to replace most state taxes with Land Value Taxes. Common Ground-NYC is trying to do the same with NY State.
  16. 16. 7/14/14 16 Helpful Websites  and - Common Ground-NYC  (this slideshow will be in the files section of this Facebook site and on  - Robert Schalkenbach Foundation  - Center for Study of Economics  - The International Union For Land Value Taxation  - NYU Furman Center (video)  - NYC Department of Finance  - Picture the Homeless  - Council of Georgist Organizations Directory The best place in the world — But it could be a whole lot better! This is only a tiny sample of hundreds of useful sites!