The Real Deal New York

Mayor calls Cuomo’s response to 421a reform “disingenuous”

Governor said last week that Bill de Blasio's proposal is too developer-friendly
June 01, 2015 08:00AM

The 421a tax abatement program is causing some trouble in paradise. Tensions are growing between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Capital New York reported. The governor has called de Blasio’s proposal to reform 421a “a giveaway to developers,” while the mayor said that response was “disingenuous.”

“It’s the exact opposite and I think it’s disingenuous of him,” de Blasio told reporters on Saturday, according to Capital. “Obviously the giveaway is that, for decades, the tax credit was given without any qualification.”

Later on that day, the mayor addressed the issue again, Capital reported. “I’ve seen our governor move mountains when he wants to,” the mayor reportedly said. “Here’s a chance for our governor to get something done for our families who need affordable housing. So, it’s time for him to do it, right?”

The mayor’s plans, backed by the Real Estate Board of New York, propose an end to 421a breaks for condo projects as well as a required inclusionary policy for affordable units to be built in buildings receiving the tax breaks.

The plan includes a wage requirement for all workers in subsidized buildings, but there’s no such clause requiring minimum wage for the construction workers building them, which has disappointed the unions.

Cuomo also said he doesn’t expect the mayor’s plans — which also extends the abatement to 35 years from the current 25 — to pass the state Legislature, the website reported. The tax program, as well as the state’s rent regulation laws, are set to expire on June 15.

“The city has a package that is criticized as being too rich to the developers and a giveaway to the developers, and you’re not paying the workers a fair wage,” Cuomo said last week. “That is a very bona fide discussion, and that has to be figured out, or not. And it’s very technical and it’s very controversial.” [Capital NY] — Claire Moses