NY Mayoral Contender Yang plans to hike taxes on empty commercial lots

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang floats 500% tax hike on empty commercial sites

Andrew Yang sees nearly $1 billion in untapped property tax revenue sitting in New York City’s vacant lots. The Mayoral contender announced a plan on Thursday to hike taxes on empty commercial lots by 500 percent over five years, the NY Post reported.

This idea is kickstart development but Yang estimated the plan could rake in $900 million a year for the city.

Vacant commercial land is taxed based on a valuation of less than 20 percent of what it would actually sell for, which Yang said disincentives development, the NY Post reported.

By taxing properties on sales price, h argues, the city would rake in cash and encourage owners to build.

With at least $1.3 billion in property taxes unpaid, and commercial building valuations (and tax bills) plunging during the pandemic, the plan would be timely, Yang said.

But developers and trade groups are skeptical, arguing the tax would make properties more expensive to build out.

“The city’s property tax system is fundamentally broken and we agree with Andrew Yang that it needs comprehensive reform, but this idea will not help to achieve the goal, ” James Whelan, President of the Real Estate Board of New York, told the Post.

Martha Stark, who was finance commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, thinks Yang could be on the something but that his math is off. She estimated the plan would raise closer to $500 million.

(credit : NY Post)

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