Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is under fire after a blistering report from the New York Post this evening reveals the wannabe Pelosi successor uses a sweetheart deal to dodge thousands in property taxes, paying just $200 a year on his $1.2 million Brooklyn condo.
Jeffries said “The wealthy, well-off and well-connected must pay their fair share.” Guess that doesn’t apply when you want to be the next Democratic leader!
In case you missed it…
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries pays just $200 in property taxes thanks to sweetheart subsidy law
New York Post
Carl Campanille & Jon Levine
January 23, 2022
Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a potential replacement for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, already lives in a “People’s House” — that’s heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Public records show that Jeffries and his family reside in a condo unit in red-hot Prospect Heights, paying just $213 a year in property taxes thanks to a sweetheart deal under a law he supported when he served in the state Assembly.
The condo the Jeffries bought in 2007 in the six-story, 40-unit complex on Underhill Avenue benefits from a massive property tax break granted under the 421-A abatement program that housing advocates have long complained is skewed toward wealthy developers and well-to-do tenants.
The law provides developers and residents property tax breaks over 25 or 35 years in exchange for making at least 20 percent of the apartments “affordable” for moderate- to low-income residents.
The generous subsidy program costs the city treasury up to $1.6 billion a year in property tax revenues, according to the comptroller’s office. The median property tax for city homeowners is more than $5,000.
One Staten Island condo owner told The Post their annual property tax bill is $5,000. A Queens homeowner said his bill is more than $9,000.
Before he was elected to Congress, Jeffries served in the state Assembly, where he co-sponsored and voted for renewal of the tax abatement law from which he benefits.
Under the abatement program, Jeffries, who receives a $174,000 congressional salary, is entitled to the generous tax break through 2032.
Housing activists blasted the deal that allows Jeffries to pay so little in property taxes. His wife also is employed as a benefits manager at the powerful healthcare workers union, SEIU Local 1199.
“It’s abusive. It’s ridiculous,” said Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenants PAC. “With all due respect, Hakeem Jeffries doesn’t need help in paying his full property taxes.”
Jeffries’ low property tax bill is just one example why the current abatement program should be scrapped and replaced with a government program that targets new developments that provide 100 percent subsidized housing for the working class and needy, McKee said.
Curtis Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder who was the Republican candidate for mayor last year, called Jeffries a hypocrite for not paying his fair share of taxes while pushing to hike federal taxes on millionaires and billionaires.
“This is a typical example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ This is classic New York chutzpah,” Sliwa said.
“Jeffries walks around like he’s a man of the people. Meanwhile he’s ripping people off. It’s a ripoff of the taxpayers. He’s happy to get this sweetheart deal while screwing the public.”
Sliwa continued, “Pay your fair share of property taxes, Congressman Jeffries! Stand up and set an example. Make up for how long you’ve been ripping off the system.”
The puny property taxes Jeffries pays is listed in public records kept by the New York City Finance Department — which collects property taxes from homeowners — and is accessible on its website.
The Jeffries’ quarterly property tax bill due in April is only $52.69, the site shows. His three prior quarterly bills were $52.69, $52.97 and $52.97.
The Jeffries have paid $250 or less in annual property taxes since 2010, according to the records.
His apartment is now worth about $1.2 million, according to realtor estimates.
Jeffries, the Housing Democratic Caucus chairman and close ally of Pelosi who is rumored to be the top contender for speaker when she retires, sought to minimize the large subsidy he gets.
“Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and his family have been specifically targeted with threats of violence on January 6th and thereafter. The effort to single out his home with phony outrage over a tax abatement his and 30,000 properties in Brooklyn have qualified for since their construction is reckless, irresponsible and may ultimately put his family at risk. Shame on you,” said Jeffries spokesman Andy Eichar.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $216 billion budget plan released last week recommends extending the property tax abatement program with changes. She calls it the Affordable Neighborhoods for New Yorkers program.
Her proposal provides a 35-year exemption for rentals and a 40-year exemption for condos and co-ops, but requires more affordable units and is closely tied into the area’s median income. Changes that are made to the program, however, won’t affect the subsidies currently in place.