MIKE SEEKS EARLY 7% PROP-TAX HIKE
By DAVID SEIFMAN, City Hall Bureau Chief, NY Post
Mayor Bloomberg will try to hike the city's property tax by 7 percent six months early - and even that might not be enough to fill gaping budget holes that are sure to widen amid Wall Street's meltdown, according to insiders.
The mayor's budget for fiscal 2010 already assumes the City Council will approve the tax increase starting July 1.
But Bloomberg has indicated in recent days that the $1.2-billion-a-year tax cut granted two years ago is a luxury the city has to pull back.
Hiking the tax on Jan. 1 would generate $600 million more that could be used to help offset a $2.3 billion deficit projected for 2010.
"Anybody that is in city government and hopes to run for office a year from November will have had to stand up and be counted on balancing our budget," the mayor said last week in a reference to council members he's going to ask to vote for higher taxes.
With staggering losses that they can continue to carry over, many firms in the financial sector won't be paying any city taxes whatsoever in coming years, according to the mayor.
Mayor: Property tax rebate safe despite tough times
By the Associated Press
New York City homeowners don't have to worry that their annual $400 property tax rebates will be eliminated as the city looks to raise revenues amid the shaky economic situation.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he won't eliminate the rebate in place since 2004.
He says the rebate was set up to help owners of one- and two-family homes when the city enacted an 18.5 percent property tax hike in 2002. He says the rebate for owners of houses, condos and co-ops was necessary because of a state law that says when the city raises or lowers property taxes it must do so for all classes of property equally.
A separate 7 percent property tax cut put in place last fiscal year and added again for this year may be in danger of being eliminated.
MTA spooks riders with service cuts talk
Only months after announcing two fare hikes, the MTA is asking its agencies to develop budget-tightening scenarios that could include service cuts if the economy worsens or local government does not offer more money, an official said Monday.
Even the talk of cuts immediately upset transit advocates, who argued that the system’s growing ridership makes service reductions senseless, and suggested the call may simply be a ploy to get more funding for the cash-starved organization.
Each agency, including New York City Transit, must come up with a contingency plan by next month that decreases expenditures by about 10 percent, and includes scenarios that would scale back subway and bus service.