BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — A looming property tax deadline for New Yorkers would be a "cruel April Fool's joke" during all the financial uncertainty swirling around the coronavirus outbreak, said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Thursday.
Adams called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to extend the city's quarterly property tax deadline, currently set for April 1. It's one of several recent financial proposals Adams — who is widely seen as a top contender in the coming mayor's race — trumpeted during the coronavirus crisis.
His latest wide-ranging call is to extend the quarterly property tax deadline to June 1 — a move that effects taxpayers with properties valued below $250,000.
Every day we are waking up faced with hard decisions. This isn't one of them. This is simple: @nycmayor extend the city’s quarterly property tax deadline to June 1. It would be a cruel April Fool’s Day joke to ask struggling NYers to meet this deadline in the face of uncertainty.
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) March 26, 2020
But Adams' prolific coronavirus activities and high-profile calls to action have drawn scrutiny, notably from the New York Post.
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The Post reported Adams until recently required his 65-person staff report to work despite social distancing and work from home guidelines elsewhere in the city. On Wednesday, they drew attention to Adams distributing masks to transit workers and NYCHA residents that one unnamed official called "useless" in terms of protection against the coronavirus.
Adams, in a Tuesday post on Twitter, stated he received 1,000 masks from "Zhe Jiang Wenzhou Assoc. of Industry & Commerce of America, Pres. Michael Lin & Xin Lei property, & Pres. Xue Hu Huang." Adams' spokesman Jonah Allon said they're surgical masks and not the N95 masks health experts recommend for use amid the outbreak.
Allon said Adams's office reached out to see if they were needed at hospitals, which had anticipated shortfalls in personal protective gear.
"When we last reached out we were told by a number of hospitals there was no need for masks because they had enough,” Allon said.
One Twitter user found it worrisome Adams might be distributing ineffective masks.
"Please if they are not those, do not give false hope," wrote @ztalpnielk. "It will make matters worse."
Allon said even though they're not N95 masks, Adams' concern is providing front line workers and vulnerable people at least some measure of protection.
Regardless, Adams' call for a property tax extension echoes other demands by city elected officials for some type of relief.