Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s contentious plan to give two state entities veto power over the allocation of federal tax-exempt bonds — used mostly by the city to fund affordable housing — was reportedly scrapped during budget discussions in Albany.
The Public Authorities Control Board and the Empire State Development Corporation would have been tasked to oversee the bonds, which finance a good portion of the city’s affordable housing. Over the past two years, about 17,000 of the 40,000 units were built through the bonds.
A scathing City Council report released earlier this month took aim at Cuomo’s plan, saying “it amounts to little more than an exercise of raw political power over the city.”
Cuomo said the Public Authorities Control Board oversight — controlled by him, the Assembly Speaker and the Senate majority leader — was to increase transparency, according to Crain’s.
While the proposal has been tabled for now, the governor could still push for the additional approvals when the law regulating how the bonds are doled out is up for renewal in July, Crain’s reported.
Last year, New York state denied extending privileges to the city to issue about $150 million in federal tax-exempt bonds. Affordable housing advocates pointed to Cuomo’s contentious relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio as the reason. [Crain’s] — Dusica Sue Malesevic