Gillibrand wants NYC property taxes deductible for all

February 14, 2011 3:58:14 AM PST
It's no secret New York City pays the highest property taxes in the country. For middle class families, it is not a bragging right they can afford.

The Lavelles and their two young boys from Staten Island are feeling the squeeze.

"Water bills are going up, you feel like you're getting nickel and dimed to death," John Lavelle said.

On Sunday afternoon, the Lavelles joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as she announced her idea for helping middle class families. She wants local property taxes fully deductible from federal income taxes regardless of how you file.

"Right now only homeowners that itemize are allowed to deduct the full amount of property taxes from federal tax returns," Gillibrand said.

In a bill Gilligrand plans to introduce, she would make property taxes deductible for families like the Lavelles who don't itemize.

Nationwide, there are 1.1 million homeowners who don't itemize. If her bill passes and they can deduct that from their federal income taxes, those families would save about a billion dollars.

To break that down for New York City, there are 290,000 homeowners who don't deduct. Her bill would mean 210 million in savings for those families.

"It's basically an issue of fairness. This is a tax deduction they have the right to have," Gillibrand said.

If homeowners save an extra billion dollars from this bill, that's a billion dollars the federal government will not be collecting. Gillibrand did not say where that billion would come from, except that there's always waste and fat to be trimmed.