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RELEASE: Mayor de Blasio and Elected Officials Push to Expand Property Tax Relief to More Seniors and Disabled New Yorkers

Mayor de Blasio and Elected Officials Push to Expand Property Tax Relief to More Seniors and Disabled New Yorkers

April 28, 2017

Adjustment would benefit more than 32,000 households

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and state and city lawmakers joined senior homeowners today to support the passage of state legislation, sponsored by State Senator Diane Savino (S4628) and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (A7463), that would expand property tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers. Current State law enables senior citizens and disabled individuals making up to $37,400 annually to qualify for property tax relief under the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) or the Disability Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs. Changes proposed in this legislation would raise the maximum income threshold to $58,400, which would constitute the first change to the cap since 2009. Currently, over 57,000 New York City homeowners are enrolled in these programs. This adjustment would benefit more than 32,000 households.

“Since the creation of these programs, life has changed significantly in New York City. We’ve watched the cost of living increase, but the income requirements for SCHE and DHE have remained stagnant,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City’s seniors should not be worrying about how they’ll afford to stay in their homes. At a time when we’re facing tax cuts for billionaires by billionaires, it is our duty to do all we can for those most deserving of some assistance. I want to thank the sponsors of this legislation, Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, for their strong advocacy on behalf of seniors and disabled New Yorkers and look forward to working with them to pass this bill this session.”

"Our seniors and disabled New Yorkers, who live on fixed incomes, deserve to reside in their communities without the fear of losing their homes. Many of our senior citizens choose to age in place in the neighborhoods where they’ve raised their families, worked and enjoyed throughout their lives. I’m so proud to carry legislation that will bring much-needed property tax relief for our seniors and disabled homeowners through the SCHE and DHE programs. I thank Mayor de Blasio for helping keep their homes affordable,” said State Senator Diane Savino.


"New Yorkers understand that in order to sustain vibrant, stable communities, we need strategies to ensure long-term affordability. Property tax exemptions for senior and disabled homeowners are an important tool in this effort, and I am proud to sponsor legislation that will make many more people eligible to receive this benefit. I thank Mayor de Blasio for focusing on this issue and for working to make our city more equitable in so many ways,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.

“We are very encouraged by the support behind this important proposed legislation,” said Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for some of our most vulnerable citizens to manage their homes. Raising the income threshold for senior citizen and disabled homeowners provides much needed financial relief, and an opportunity to include thousands more into these programs.”

Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado said, “A simple change in the income threshold for SCHE and DHE would make a world of difference to older homeowners struggling to make ends meet in New York City. We saw the benefits when the maximum income for SCRIE and DRIE, the City’s programs that provide relief to renters, were increased. Raising the income threshold for homeowners is not only fair, it makes it possible for thousands more older New Yorkers to continue to live in their own homes and communities without having to worry about their property taxes going up.”

“New Yorkers with disabilities often struggle to stay in their homes due to increased healthcare and durable medical equipment costs,” said Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise. “Affording them a tax savings will provide them the stability that is needed for them rob stay in their homes and neighborhoods. I once again commend the Mayor and Assembly Member for raising the bar and improving the lifestyle for both persons with disabilities and seniors.”

Currently, SCHE and DHE provide a property tax exemption of 50 percent of the assessed property value for senior and disabled homeowners making up to $29,000 per year, with homeowners making up to $37,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. Under the new legislation, senior and disabled homeowners making up to $50,000 would be eligible for the 50 percent exemption, with homeowners making up to $58,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. The city estimates that raising the income threshold would provide eligible senior and disabled homeowners with an average benefit of $1,750.

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit will be conducting increased pro-active outreach to New Yorkers across the city who are currently eligible and those who will be become eligible under the income expansion to assist them in enrolling in the SCHE and DHE programs.
"We talk to thousands of New Yorkers across the city each week and we know how essential rental and tax support, like SCHE and DHE, are to helping families stay in the homes that they love. Our door knocking and outreach teams look forward to enrolling even more New Yorkers in this necessary tax relief," said Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Regina Schwartz.

"The Independent Democratic Conference long advocated to alleviate property taxes for our low- and middle-income senior and disabled homeowners through the Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowner Exemption (DHE) programs, which why Senator Diane Savino carries legislation to discount these unaffordable costs. For these residents, living on a fixed income in New York City while owning a home and paying property taxes jeopardizes their ability to live out their golden years in dignity and comfort in the neighborhoods they contributed so much to. We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for recognizing the importance of this program and look forward to working together to help ensure these homeowners on a fixed income also share in an affordable New York," said State Senator Jeffrey Klein, Independent Democratic Conference Leader.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: "Keeping older New Yorkers in their homes isn't just the right thing to do - it's the smart thing to do. People live longer, healthier lives when they can age at home, which ultimately benefits all of us. I'm grateful to Mayor de Blasio for supporting our efforts in the Senate to raise the SCHE and DHE income limits and keep our senior citizen neighbors in the communities they helped to build."

"New York's senior and disabled citizens face the great challenge of paying their bills on a fixed income. Raising the threshold will give more people the opportunity to participate in the program, making it easier for them to keep their homes," said State Senator Martin J. Golden.

"Senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers face an increasingly heavy burden of property taxes as land values rise,” said State Senator Marisol Alcantara. “I am pleased to support Mayor De Blasio's effort to help the city's vulnerable populations stay in their homes. By raising the income eligibility threshold, thousands more New Yorkers will be able to afford to continue to live in homes that, in some cases, they have invested decades of their lives into."

State Senator Jose Peralta said, "“We must ensure that senior citizens and disabled homeowners are able to stay in their homes and avoid losing the properties they worked so hard their entire lives. Sadly, the costs of living and medical expenses are rising, and this it is why is vital we increase the income eligibility for SCHE/DHE homeowners. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, my colleague Senator Savino, and all others involved in these efforts that only have the goal of helping New Yorkers stay in their homes.”

"With higher than average health expenses and steady increases in the cost of living, senior and disabled homeowners are fighting harder than ever to make ends meet and still pay their property taxes. This discrepancy is unfair, it’s morally wrong and it’s long overdue that we correct it legislatively," said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Housing Committee. “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for supporting this important legislation and for joining me in fighting for more affordable housing across our city."

“Each year, the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs help thousands of seniors and disabled residents remain in their homes. Yet, due to the low qualifying income requirements, many New Yorkers who struggle with the rising cost of living are unable to participate in these beneficial programs” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “Raising the income limits for SCHE/DHE will allow New Yorkers on fixed or limited incomes the opportunity to save on property taxes and I am pleased to see Mayor Bill de Blasio’s support on this important increase.”

As housing prices continue to stretch family budgets thin here in Coney Island, it’s crucial that we offer assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Assembly Member Pamela Harris. “By increasing the income threshold for SCHE and DHE, we can expand access to this important exemption and help more elderly and disabled residents remain in their homes.”

“With the cost of living rising and property taxes as high levels, seniors and people with disabilities, among many others, are being pushed out from the homes they have lived in for generations. We must help them stay in New York and increasing the eligibility income threshold for the SCHE/DHE exemptions programs is a step in the right direction,” said Assembly Member Brian Barnwell.

“Affordable housing is important for all New Yorkers, whether they are renters, coop owners, or homeowners. Just as we have raised the income limit on SCRIE and DRIE the income limit for SCHE must be raised as well. I applaud mayor de Blasio for his ongoing commitment to help ensure that New Yorkers can afford to remain at home. The mayor has shown this commitment by keeping his campaign promise to prevent the rents of rent stabilized tenants from skyrocketing. Increasing the eligibility for SCHE will also be a significant factor in giving many, many seniors the ability to continue live in homes that they have, in some cases, lived in for decades,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

"Expanding the Senior Citizens Homeowners Exemption (SCHE) will provide much needed tax relief to many senior citizen home owners" said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan. "I commend the Mayor for expanding this program in his executive budget and making the necessary investments to improve the quality of life for all of our senior citizens.”

“I thank the sponsors for this bill and Mayor de Blasio for his support for raising the income eligibility threshold of the real property tax exemption for low income homeowners to a realistic level. Too many low-income homeowners are vulnerable to foreclosure and homelessness because the current income threshold is set too low. Keeping New Yorkers in their home has to be a top priority,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

"I am very happy to see this increase in qualifying incomes for SCHE/DHE as part of the Executive Budget. Many hardworking New Yorkers, including many of those who live in my community in Queens, rely on SCHE or DHE exemptions, and for too long those whose annual income fell just above the threshold of $37,400 were excluded from much-needed benefits. This increase will expand access to more households, and help ensure that New York City remains a place where people can afford to own a home, raise a family, and live out their lives. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and those who fought to include this in the Executive Budget for their commitment to housing affordability." said Assembly Member Michael DenDekker.

"I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for supporting this much needed increase in the income threshold necessary to qualify for SCHE and DHE,” said Assembly Member Edward Braunstein. “The expansion of this program will make it easier for thousands of seniors and disabled homeowners on fixed incomes to continue to afford to stay in their homes."

"Whether I'm at our local senior centers or a community event, the most pressing concerns from constituents center around affordable housing." said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. "Many seniors in my district are on fixed incomes and this legislation has the potential to save thousands of dollars each year for our most vulnerable residents."

“This expansion of the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption income limit will have an enormous impact on thousands of seniors throughout the city who are living on a fixed income,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. “Seniors living in private homes, co-ops and condos have often expressed the difficulty of getting by on fixed incomes while dealing with escalating property taxes. The financial relief this expansion will bring will play an enormous role in providing them the opportunity to continue living in their homes with dignity and independence.”

“Many seniors and disabled New Yorkers live on a fixed income and are barely able to get by with their living expenses. Increasing the threshold for the SCHE / DHE programs allows for thousands of seniors to have more flexibility with their budget, and improve their quality of life. I applaud the Administration for their attention in helping senior and disabled homeowners," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee.

“Costs of living are continuing to rise and it is hurting the most vulnerable, senior citizens and disabled individuals,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “Increasing the income threshold for the SCHE/DHE program will benefit thousands of homeowners. We must make this is a priority, just like when we increased the income eligibility limit for SCRIE/DRIE recipients back in 2014.”

“The city and state need to do whatever it can to assist our senior and disabled residents. Raising the SCHE/DHE threshold by approximately $20,000 will help keep many seniors and disabled New Yorkers with modest incomes in their homes. In many cases these homes may be the residences that they have spent most or all of their lives in,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

“It’s high time that we raise the Senior Citizen and Disability Homeowner Income Exemptions to $50,000. Raising the equivalent exemption for rent-regulated tenants was one of the most important actions for preserving affordable housing that New York has taken in recent years, and these same protections must be made available to residents who own their homes. I’ve had so many constituents come to my office who barely exceed the current income restrictions and are struggling to make ends meet,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

"I call on the New York State legislature to sign and the Governor to pass this legislation that will increase the income threshold for SCHE/DHE program participants," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "The property tax exemption SCHE/DHE provides is huge boost for the many senior and disabled homeowners struggling to make ends meet in our city. The State must seize this opportunity to make New York a more affordable place for some of our most vulnerable residents. I add my voice to the chorus of elected officials and seniors who are calling for this progressive change."

"For many Seniors and some individuals living with a Disability the difference between being homeless and homeowner is a tax bill. The unfortunate consequence of a growing economy is the scaled increase of property tax burdens, a growing threat for many New Yorkers living on a fixed income. It is imperative for Albany to act now and expand the tax relief benefits of SCHE/DHE," stated Council Member Ruben Wills.


Paid for by People for Brian Kavanagh
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