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Gov. Cuomo Signs Sandy Tax Abatement Legislation

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Property tax relief is on the way for New York homeowners who rebuilt or repaired their homes following Superstorm Sandy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on Staten Island Thursday to sign Sandy tax abatement legislation which prevents Sandy victims from being hit with big property tax hikes for making repairs to storm-damaged homes.

“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, homeowners across the downstate region were forced to invest in significant repairs to make their homes more resilient – investments that would increase their taxes under normal circumstances,” Cuomo said. “Sandy was not a normal circumstance, however, and I will not allow taxes to be raised on property owners simply because they are repairing the damage that was done and planning wisely for the future.”

“This legislation will ensure that homeowners are protected as they look to build back better, stronger and safer for the new reality of extreme weather,” Cuomo added.

The legislation was proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and unveiled in April.

“Property owners recovering from Sandy shouldn’t be forced to pay higher taxes simply because they rebuilt — and now they won’t,” de Blasio said. “We proposed this legislation because New Yorkers who have already been through so much deserve this basic relief.”

Richard White told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer the bill will save him about $1,000. He said it will mean the world to his wife and three kids.

“It will put more food on the table. My kids will probably go to Judo another month. It’s money in my pocket instead of peoples’ pockets who already have money in them,” he said.

If the bill had not been put into action, more than 7,400 Sandy-damaged properties would have been hit with sky rocketing tax bills on July 1 — most of those properties being one- and two-family homes, Kramer reported.

To qualify for the tax relief, the property must meet the following criteria:

– The Department of Finance reduced the assessed valuation of the building on the property for fiscal year 2014 from the assessed valuation for fiscal year 2013 as a result of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

– The Department of Finance increased the assessed valuation of the building for fiscal year 2015 from its assessed valuation for fiscal year 2014.

– The assessed valuation of the building for fiscal year 2015 exceeds that for fiscal year 2013.

The abatement will appear on impacted homeowners’ July property tax bills.

Homeowners can call 311 or visit the NYC Department of Finance website at NYC.gov/finance for more information.

De Blasio said he is also changing the way Sandy aid is handed out to homeowners and fast tracking it.

The mayor said he is determined to see construction on 500 homes started by Labor Day.

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