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May 22, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

We write to you regarding the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT), a charge that the City unfairly
imposes on Manhattan businesses only. This tax is particularly burdensome on small businesses,
which already struggle to survive in the face of Manhattan’s increasingly unaffordable
commercial rents. We urge you to support a solution to relieve this burden.

As you know, in May of 2015, Council Members Garodnick and Rosenthal, along with nine
other Manhattan Council Members, introduced Intro 799-A, a bill that would raise the minimum
rent at which commercial tenants are exempt from paying CRT from $250,000 to $500,000. The
bill now has 38 co-sponsors in the City Council from all five boroughs, and, as you can see from
the signatory list below, enjoys support of City, State, and Federal elected officials.

This threshold has not been raised since 2001. As rents rose dramatically over those 16 years,
hundreds of small businesses became newly subject to the tax. These businesses were not
intended to be subject to this tax, and for many of them, this tax can be crippling. A small store
paying $360,000 in rent per year owes $14,000 just from CRT alone -- a cost that can make the
difference between staying open or shutting the doors.

The New York City we all know and love is disappearing before our very eyes. A quick stroll
down any street shows fewer and fewer storefronts occupied by our favorite mom-and-pop stores
and small, local businesses that are integral to the character of Manhattan’s diverse
neighborhoods. Raising the exemption threshold to $500,000 would impact nearly 40% of the
businesses currently paying the tax, but only 6% of the revenue the city actually collects from it.
At a small cost to the city, we can help nearly 4,000 small businesses stay on their feet. From a
cost-benefit perspective, this legislation is a winner.

Eliminating the CRT for businesses paying less than $500,000 per year on rent will go a long
way towards ensuring they have every opportunity to thrive in our City’s increasingly
competitive commercial landscape. We are dedicated to this effort, and ask you to embrace this


Daniel R. Garodnick Helen Rosenthal Gale A. Brewer
Council Member Council Member Manhattan Borough

Nydia Velázquez Jerrold Nadler Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress

Letitia James Scott M. Stringer Daniel Squadron
NYC Public Advocate NYC Comptroller State Senator

Brad Hoylman Liz Krueger José M. Serrano
State Senator State Senator State Senator

Marisol Alcántara Yuh-Line Niou Deborah Glick
State Senator Assembly Member Assembly Member

Linda Rosenthal Robert J. Rodriguez Daniel O’Donnell
Assembly Member Assembly Member Assembly Member
Dan Quart Brian Kavanagh Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Assembly Member Assembly Member

Rebecca A. Seawright Margaret Chin Rosie Mendez
Assembly Member Council Member Council Member

Corey Johnson Ben Kallos Mark Levine
Council Member Council Member Council Member