The state’s top Republican lawmaker said all it would take is some pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to get a new deal done on 421a, and offered up some colorful suggestions about a potential new program, at least from a public relations perspective.
During an address to the New York Building Congress at The Metropolitan Club on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said that, to date, the expired tax incentive program has been a missed opportunity.
The state legislative session ended earlier this month without a healthy debate on a new program, though there was an 11th-hour hullabaloo over the half-hearted “421aa” replacement program, which died without a sponsor or a palatable wage for unions.
“No one can provide greater leadership in this area than the governor of the state of New York,” Flanagan said, according to Politico. “In my humble opinion, he puts everybody in a room, sits everybody down, tells everybody nobody’s going home ’til things are negotiated and compromised, then I think we can get there. He proved it with the MTA and other issues like that.”
The 421a program, which provided a partial tax exemption for certain new multi-housing developments, expired in January after the city’s labor unions, represented by Building & Construction Trades Council president Gary LaBarbera, and developers, represented by the Real Estate Board of New York, failed to come to an agreement over a prevailing wage requirement.
Many criticized Cuomo for passing responsibility onto the two major stakeholders to negotiate terms of a deal.
Flanagan added that if lawmakers do arrive at a compromise, they’ll scrap the name “421a” name.
“I don’t care if it’s peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, it’s not gonna be 421a,” he said. “Everyone’s tired of talking about that.”
Flanagan also called, once again, for a property tax cap for the city, but admitted it would be an uphill battle in Albany and wasn’t sure legislation would be introduced next year.
“Property taxes are still the number one issue,” Flanagan told Commercial Observer. “It has a direct correlation to jobs, availability of access [and] opportunities. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a rural community in Upstate New York or the City of New York.” [Politico and CO] – Rich Bockmann