With affordable housing becoming a hot-button issue in the upcoming mayoral race, the Real Estate Board of New York is warning the candidates not to alienate its thousands of members, according to Crain’s. REBNY’s president, Steven Spinola, told the politicians Monday: “If the debate ends up with a bunch of rhetoric, then we’re not going to find any solutions. If there’s going to be short, bumper-sticker answers about it being money being given away, then we’re not going to make much progress on what may be one of the most important issues facing the city of New York.”
Spinola’s “rhetoric” reference, Crain’s said, refers to the criticism that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has leveled at Speaker Christine Quinn for proposing a cap on property taxes for developers who create affordable housing; Blasio and others consider the cap to be a handout for the wealthy.
Quinn has received more than $800,000 in political donations from the real estate players — more than any other candidate — and her aids admitted that the industry wrote much of her plan.
Quinn’s plan is similar to a plan rejected twice by the Bloomberg administration for being overly generous to developers; REBNY has long championed a cap on real estate taxes to guarantee a discounted and predictable long-term tax bill.
“We do appreciate the fact that she’s [Quinn] been willing to put on the table that we need to preserve housing in this city,” Spinola said. “But clearly it’s not exactly what we’ve proposed. We’re prepared to learn and go in and discuss it further as the idea gets developed.” [Crain’s] —Christ