The Real Deal New York

REBNY, unions clash over 421a

Trade group helped finance a new anti-union advertisement

May 26, 2015 11:55AM

Screenshot from the advertisement (credit: Affordable Housing and Local Jobs Now)

Screenshot from the advertisement (credit: Affordable Housing and Local Jobs Now)

The Real Estate Board of New York is going to bat over 421a with a new advertisement aimed at discouraging lawmakers from including a prevailing wage requirement in the package.

The 421a tax abatement program expires on June 15, and whether it will be amended or renewed at all is still up in the air. Union groups have been advocating for any extension of 421a to include a requirement that projects benefiting from the program adhere to a prevailing wage requirement, according to Capital New York.

But in a new ad financed by Affordable Housing and Local Jobs Now, whose members include REBNY, the New York State chapter of the NAACP, and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, and others — the industry trade group seeks to vilify those demands.

“‘If we want to create more affordable housing, we can’t just talk about it—we need to build it, in neighborhoods across New York City,” says the narrator in the television spot. “But now, special interests are pushing a deceptive wage proposal that would stop builders from hiring local workers, severely restricting new affordable housing construction and denying thousands of families a place to call home.” Watch the ad here.

REBNY supports Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal for a 421a program that would require affordable housing to be included in all developments that receive the benefit, and that would eliminate the program for condo projects.

Also recently, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research released a paper advocating against an “inclusionary approach” and saying that low-income housing developers should be allowed to sell their right to the 421a benefit to luxury developers, ultimately allowing more units of affordable housing to be built off-site. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann