The City of Buffalo needs a partial property tax exemption for low and moderate-income homeowners to make sure they are not forced out by their newly assessed property taxes. Property values in certain areas of Buffalo have increased remarkably since the last assessment. This surge has resulted in steep increases in property tax bills for many homeowners.
There are 21,734 homeowners in Buffalo with incomes under $50,000 per year. Protecting these owners’ ability to stay in their homes is critical to the well-being of their families, their neighborhoods and the city as a whole. For people working low-paying jobs or relying on fixed incomes, an increase in taxes can mean the difference between staying or being forced to sell their home. Displacing homeowners is bad for them and their families, and it tears holes in the fabric of our neighborhoods.
The Common Council recently approved a property tax exemption that applies to about 350 residents who are 65 years and older, have lived in their home for 25 consecutive years, have an income below $30,000, and live in high poverty census tracts. This is beneficial, but only for a fraction of those who need help. We need an exemption that applies to all low and moderate-income owners facing sharp increases in their taxes.