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Court of Appeals Rules NYC Property Tax System Breaches Federal Law

via Eyewitness News ABC7NY

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled that New York City’s property tax system violates federal housing discrimination law and state law.

The court sided with plaintiff Tax Equity Now NY (TENNY), which had sued the city and state over a tax system that subjects minorities to higher property taxes compared to majority-white areas.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that multi-million-dollar properties are taxed at similar or lower rates than less valuable properties, and that real property in majority-minority districts are overassessed.

“According to the complaint, the result is staggering inequities and a regressive tax system that hurts those who can least afford to pay heavy taxes,” TENNY wrote.

While a lower court had dismissed the case, the Court of Appeals found the complaint sufficiently alleged causes of action against the city for having an unfair, inequitable system with a discriminatory disparate impact on certain property owners.

“That was [the] error,” the Court of Appeals stated.

“We conclude that, although TENNY’s complaint failed to state claims against the State defendants, the complaint exceeds our pleading standard and sufficiently alleges causes of action against the City defendants … on the general basis that the system is unfair, inequitable, and has a discriminatory disparate impact on certain protected classes of New York City property owners,” the ruling stated.

“The City and State do not dispute that the system results in disparities,” the ruling added.

“According to the complaint, the numbers tell the story of a taxation scheme that requires lower-income property owners and renters in majority-minority New York City neighborhoods to pay more than their fair share of the tax burden in violation of the law,” the ruling added.

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