Lawmakers in no rush to finalize 421a deal

Members of the legislature not keen on returning for special session, despite urgings from Cuomo

TRD New York /
Nov.November 14, 2016 09:00 AM

State lawmakers see no reason to hightail it back to Albany for a special session to get the new 421a law on the books, despite urgings from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York last week announced they had reached an agreement to revive the expired tax exemption.

But the deal still has to be passed through the state Legislature and signed by Cuomo, and lawmakers said they have no plans to rush back to get it done by the end of the year.

“I don’t know if everything’s been worked out and I’m not sure why we would rush to do something in December that we could do a few weeks later in January and maybe get it right,” Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, a Democrat from the Bronx, told Politico. “We always need to be part of the discussion and to weigh in. There could be an agreement, but ultimately the members of the Legislature need to ratify an agreement one way or another, whether that’s in December or January, I don’t know.”

Renewing 421a is a required step to finalizing a memorandum of understanding between Cuomo and legislative leaders that will release $2 billion earmarked for affordable and supportive housing. In announcing the deal Thursday, Cuomo said lawmakers should convene in a special session so as not to “stall affordable housing production for years to come.”

“There is no excuse not to act,” he said.

The 421a deal sets an average hourly wage (including benefits) of $60 for labor on projects in Manhattan south of 96th Street with 300 or more rental units, and $45 per hour in areas of Brooklyn and Queens near the waterfront.

Developers could also avoid the wage requirements if they sign project labor agreements with unions. The tax break will last up to 35 years.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, a Republican from Ontario County, said lawmakers should recognize the outcome of the state elections and not act as lame ducks.

“Why can’t it wait until January?” Kolb said. “You’ve got a new legislative body, and I think we really shouldn’t be taking anything up before January.” [Politico]Rich Bockmann

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