Watch CBS News

Lawsuit blaming New York City, state for property tax inequities can move forward, court rules

Court rules lawsuit to overhaul how NYC homeowners are taxed can move forward
Court rules lawsuit to overhaul how NYC homeowners are taxed can move forward 01:43

NEW YORK -- A ruling from New York's highest court could lead to a shakeup in the city's property tax system.

A lawsuit to overhaul how homeowners are taxed can move forward.

Few people would argue that the city's property tax system has long been seen as putting an unfair burden on poor people. People with homes in working class neighborhoods often could be paying far more taxes than those with condos in wealthy neighborhoods, but the question is what to do about it.

A lawsuit from Tax Equity Now New York points the finger at the city and state. They argue the tax system is filled with "staggering inequities ... that hurts those who can least afford to pay heavy taxes."

The complaint further alleges that "real properties in majority-people-of-color districts are overassessed and subjected to higher taxes compared to properties in majority-white districts."

The complaint from TENNY tells a tale of two Brooklyn neighborhoods it says are assessed at vastly different rates; Canarsie properties are assessed at over triple the rate of the same properties in the more posh Park Slope.

Tuesday's ruling is a victory for housing groups, but it only means that the case goes forward.

"The court of appeals in the TENNY case made the determination that there was standing. What that means is the plaintiffs have the right to bring the lawsuit. That does not mean that the lawsuit is concluded. It goes back to the lower court, and then determinations are going to be made," said Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, with NYC Corporation Counsel.

Through the years, there have been calls to change the tax system through the state legislature, but that has not happened, so TENNY is going through the courts.

Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has to examine the ruling before deciding how to move forward, but insists she wants the state to do the best it can to eliminate discrimination.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.