Critics slam Legislature’s 421-a bill

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The 421-a reform bill that passed the Legislature last week is significantly different from the version of the bill that the city submitted after long negotiations, and some critics are saying Governor Eliot Spitzer should not sign it into law. The bill that passed the Legislature is different from the measure the city proposed in the following ways: It adds an extra $300 million in tax breaks for Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development; it reserves subsidized housing tax breaks for developers building low-, rather than middle-income, housing; and it adds a number of new neighborhoods to the law’s “exemption” zones. Critics contend that Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the chair of the Housing Committee, introduced many of the changes without consulting city officials, and that Real Estate Board of New York president Steven Spinola is responsible for lobbying for the more controversial tweaks, such as the extra tax incentives for Atlantic Yards. more [NYT]