Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on granting the city another $300 million in bonding authority on Friday, providing a considerable bump in funds needed to construct affordable housing.
With this latest allowance, the state has granted the city $771 million in tax exempt bond capacity this year — an amount Cuomo’s office touted as the highest provided in a decade.
“Homelessness is exploding and affordable housing is all but disappearing,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New York City needs this help from the state which will provide thousands of units of safe, clean, affordable housing and will help alleviate this crisis.”
Under federal law, the state controls bond capacity, a fact that has been yet another source of tension between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. In November 2015, the de Blasio administration claimed it received a far smaller share of the bonds than it was promised and, as a result, had t0 delay construction of certain affordable units. In January, Cuomo also proposed changes that would have added two new layers to the bond allocation approval process, a prospect New York Housing Commissioner Vicki Been called “a poison pill.” The revisions were ultimately not implemented.
It’s been a big few weeks for affordable housing in the city. The Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council announced on Nov. 10 that they’d finally come to an agreement over 421a, seemingly paving the way for lawmakers to revive the tax break. After a fundamental misunderstanding over a wage component of the agreement last week, the groups again seem to be on track. [NYDN] — Kathryn Brenzel