Today’s Headlines

  • Will Cuomo and Heastie Put Their Weight Behind Road Pricing, or Not? (Politico)
  • Flanagan Says Albany Doing All It’s Going to Do to Fund the MTA (News)
  • Price Tag for Cuomo’s Long Island Car Tunnel Estimated at $55B (CBS)
  • … As the Collapse of the Subway System He Runs Continues Apace (NY1Post)
  • De Blasio Pauses Campaign to Preserve Unfettered Motoring to Posture Against Big Oil (Politico)
  • O’Neill Shuffles Top NYPD Positions (NYT); PBA Sues to Shield Body Cam Footage (NYT)
  • Driver Critically Injures Woman on Clove Road; NYPD: “No Criminality Suspected” (Advance)
  • Flipping a School Bus Loaded With Children? Legal in Vision Zero-Era NYC (NewsNBC)
  • More Motorized Mayhem: Advance 1, 2
  • Brooklyn Assembly Member Pamela Harris Indicted for Fraud (NYT)
  • “You’re Welcome, New Jersey” (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The GOP agenda would also freeze seniors’ school property tax bills at current levels and then gradually eliminate those taxes for seniors over the next 10 years.”
    Generation Greed. Will no one say so?
    If they are public employees, retirees already pay zero state and local income taxes.
    The Republican Party can just keep pandering to Generation Greed, knowing the union-driven Democrats want to screw younger generations too.

  • Vooch

    A most interesting keynote at CES by Ford – quotes JSK, shows bikes, stresses people

    http://live.ces.tech/detail/videos/best-of/video/5706152099001/ford-keynote?autoStart=true

    thoughts ?

  • Guys, we should talk about how we’re divvying up all the sweet sweet dollars flowing our way. Is this right forum for it?

    https://twitter.com/NRafter/status/950605193338589184

  • Vooch

    Aristocrats never paid taxes only serfs did

  • Brad Aaron

    Time to pay up, if true.

  • Joe R.

    NYC should pass a real-estate capture tax to prevent cashing in on artificially-inflated home prices. The tax would be 90% of the increase in the value of the home above inflation. Such a tax would stop real estate speculators cold. It would also encourage people to buy homes to live in, not to rent out while they appreciate as “investments”. Historically, real estate has always tracked inflation, at least until recently. A tax on the excess increase above inflation would eventually ensure that remains the case.

  • What?!?! You haven’t been getting your monthly check?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Look at the this chart, comparing a NYC retired household with a young couple with less in income that rents.

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/chart-4.jpg

    What’s the problem? According to Flanagan, too much money being collected in property tax from the seniors, and too much invested in infrastructure they have no reason to care about.

    It was just reported that NYC’s crime rate was at an all time low. But when Generation Greed was in its crime-prone youth, it was at an all time high. Those values were not limited to street criminals.

  • bolwerk

    A sweet spot for residential real estate value growth is probably somewhere above inflation (or it’s a bad investment) and below wage growth (or people can’t afford to buy it). Of course, that doesn’t work when wage growth isn’t part of public policy!

    And rentals should be encouraged. Someone renting out for income has incentive to take care of their property, particularly if they expect to resell it at a profit.

    That’s not even talking about how a lot of the problem in NYC is lack of supply.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “A sweet spot for residential real estate value growth is probably somewhere above inflation (or it’s a bad investment) and below wage growth (or people can’t afford to buy it).”

    Sorry, but wage growth has been below inflation for a few decades.

    And people have been forced to pay a rising share of their income for housing.

    The sweet spot is not to buy until the price of housing falls. Generation Greed, the sellers, has arranged for every asset to be overvalued.

  • Joe R.

    Since wages haven’t even kept up with inflation the sweet spot by your criteria would have to be price increases below inflation. Also, it’s mainly commercial real estate which should be considered an investment, perhaps also luxury rentals. Anything else is primarily a place for people to live.

    And rentals should be encouraged. Someone renting out for income has incentive to take care of their property, particularly if they expect to resell it at a profit.

    As does someone who actually owns a place and lives there. The profit in rentals should be in what you’re able to charge in rent above your operating cost. If you sell at a gain above inflation that should be considered a bonus, but not necessarily something you expect.

    The lack of supply is only part of the problem. A lot of the reason for current ridiculous prices is speculation, plus banks lending to people who a few decades ago couldn’t qualify because they would be spending too much of their income towards debt.

  • bolwerk

    That’s a useless plan. Most people need to either buy, rent, or be given housing no matter what the housing market is like. And did you not read the sentence after the one you quoted?

  • bolwerk

    Not saying there’s anything wrong with owner occupation, but most people aren’t particularly good at maintaining housing. It’s not something that should be encouraged for people who aren’t good at it, and if anything doing so helps feed the very speculative frenzy you decry as more sophisticated speculators prey on less sophisticated buyers and renters – in some cases, letting housing stock suffer all the while.

  • Joe R.

    Lots of landlords of apartment rentals aren’t particularly good at maintaining their buildings, either. For that matter, my father wasn’t particularly adept when he first bought the place, having been in apartments his entire life. He learned somewhat. I made it a point to learn even more given how expensive and incompetent most contractors are. Maybe the city needs to go after people who are really bad at maintaining their property, whether that property is rental apartments or private homes. I see a few such homes even in my area. However, even those homes often serve a larger purpose if they get sold as fixer-uppers at less than market rate to those handy enough to take on the job.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “NYC should pass a real-estate capture tax to prevent cashing in on artificially-inflated home prices.”

    Well, if NY loses the lawsuit that limits the property taxes on my artificially-inflated home, it could limit the damage to homeowners in neighborhoods such as mine by allowing them to defer all taxes in excess of, say, 5 percent of income, until the property was sold.

    In that case, the city would in fact collect a windfall at the point of sale, instead of all of it going to those cashing in and moving out.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, not a bad idea. Let’s collectively screw those seeking to cash out now as their last big hurrah. They’ve already taken enough.

  • Larry Littlefield

    This is one of the few ripoffs that benefits me, but I can’t defend it. NYC has a shortage of housing units large enough for families.

    Yet as it is, were my wife and I to downsize to an apartment, co-op or condo in a decade or so, when we were sure the kids were out of the nest for good, our property tax burden on a smaller, cheaper place would go UP. Makes no sense.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t entirely disagree with your assessment. Afterall, my comment was more on how things should work in a sane-ish economy, one that prioritized income growth.

    Still, home ownership creates a situation analogous to private car ownership. Many people just need one or both, often for reasons that are are thrust on them by society or public policy. They’re thrust into the situation of having to assess and mitigate problems, yet might not be savvy enough to even discern those problems.

    It was not just technical or managerial skill I was referring to.
    Homeowners ideally also need means. That includes at least time and income. Even crappy landlords usually have the income from the rents their properties generate, and as you suggest they be held to account by the city – often because tenants report problems!