Homeowners concerned GOP tax plan could crush LI housing market, economy

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HUNTINGTON -

As a conference committee irons out the differences between the Senate and the House versions of the tax bill, some are concerned that the GOP plan could drastically lower the value of most Long Islanders' biggest asset - their homes.

Gary Gardner, of Centerport, says he's really worried about what will happen when the new tax law takes effect. As News 12 has reported, some deductions popular with Long Island homeowners would be capped or eliminated. 

“And for folks like my mom who rely on these deductions to get by, they're not going to be able to get by anymore,” says Gardner.

Experts also worry that the plan could have an impact on the local economy.

“Most Long Islanders are house rich and cash poor. If their homes are worth less than what they paid or if they think their house is worth less, they tend to spend less,” says Kevin Law, of the Long Island Association.

Rep. Peter King says most economists he spoke with believe Long Island home values would fall 10 to 20 percent.

Homeowners who plan on retiring in the not so distant future say any decrease in home values will have a significant impact on their ability to pay for their retirement.

Port Jefferson's Karen Austin is a bookkeeper who says she was hoping to retire in five years, sell her home and use the money to buy a condo. She now says she might have to rethink her retirement plans if she can’t sell her home.

Congressional lawmakers have a short timeline to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Their goal is to have a compromise to President Donald Trump before Christmas. 

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