Posted by Leonard Steinberg on October 25th, 2014

I live in a building where several people own apartments that they only use a few months of the year. I am in no way offended by this. My neighbors paid lots of transfer and mansion taxes buying, pay monthly real estate taxes, employ decorators, trades people, cleaners, drivers, cooks, etc. When they are in town they support restaurants, trainers, theaters, etc. They spend LOTS. Each time they spend, sales taxes are collected. I am offended by the likes of State Senator Liz Krueger quoted in this mornings absurd story in the New York Times who probably has bemoaned the congestion in New York, yet is quoted now bemoaning how these part-time-property users will not be in town all the time filling up the streets: what exactly does she want? The contradictory messaging is alarming at best. Here are some examples:

1)   Some are upset because when they look at buildings at night they are not brightly illuminated as many owners are not in town, yet they want to cut energy use in the City.

2)   Some are upset because part-time owners do not pay enough taxes, yet each of these property owner has paid MASSIVE taxes to buy their apartments, continue to pay real estate taxes every month they own, and have to pay MASSIVE taxes when they sell their apartments.

3)   What are taxes? They are monies paid by residents to pay for services, welfare, debt payments, wars, etc. Surely the real estate taxes paid by these part time owners covers much more than the services they are being provided for the few weeks they are in  town?

4)   When a 100+ unit building like One 57 is built atop a hotel, surely the vast volume of people going to the hotel far outnumbers the number of full time residents that would inhabit the building if it were all residential and all full time occupants?

5)   A building like THE PLAZA may experience low occupancy levels in the residential component but its hotel component is bustling with people: the development added a food court that benefits all. The building produces MUCH more in real estate taxes now than before when it was just a hotel. And it continues to employ hundreds.

6)   New Yorkers complain too much: I don’t love these super-tall structures personally, but they do house more people and they replace buildings that produced far lower real estate taxes in their prior life. Often the real estate taxes the new buildings collect are double, triple or more. You can’t collect more real estate taxes when you have full timers living in fewer apartments in smaller buildings. Thats basic mathematics.

7)  While higher real estate prices make it more difficult for some to buy, none of the union workers are complaining about their improved incomes. The cost to build in New York is huge and costs continue to rise: the numbers these construction sites employ is massive. Will all the full time New York residents be happy paying more taxes to pay for more welfare when these builders are unemployed?

8) How much taxes will need to be collected to compensate for the loss of taxes collected when sales drop? When construction slows and no-one is buying all those Sub Zero fridges and fancy Waterworks fixtures? Who will be paying for those lost jobs making, selling and distributing the components of these buildings?

Just look across the pond to London t see how negatively over-taxing those who are not full-time residents can be. Senator Krueger: please stop the political pandering and open your eyes to the facts, before they come back to bite you…..and all of us full time residents who are not complaining!