Several city lawmakers revolted during a routine meeting Thursday — refusing to support bills that would hit property owners with interest rates on late tax payments of up to 18 percent, arguing that the “usurious” fees would cause the middle class to flee the city.
An unexpected floor amendment brought by City Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) would have reduced the late fees to 0-to-2 percent, providing relief to property owners struggling to pay real estate taxes during the pandemic.
“The city does not have to rely on New Yorkers to fund a loan sharking operation in essence with these usurious rates,” Yeger charged during a council-wide vote.
His Democratic Queens colleague, Bob Holden, said the bill would fuel the exodus of Gotham taxpayers sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s indifference to the concerns of the middle class.
“The middle class in this city continues to be treated as a cash cow. It’s no wonder people are fleeing the city,” Holden said.
Fellow Queens Democrat Peter Koo fumed, “We are tired of people peeing on the streets. The property owners pay a lot of money for services but there’s no services.
“I think property owners have to stand together and tell this administration enough is enough. They have to do something for us,” Koo said.