Public Advocate says Christine Quinn’s affordable housing plan mainly benefits developers

From left: Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn
From left: Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn

New York City Public Advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio slammed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s affordable housing platform, saying it pandered to the interests of the real estate industry, the New York Observer reported.

In Quinn’s State of the City address earlier this week, she proposed a cap for property taxes for whole buildings that pledged to set aside a certain percentage of their units as affordable. The plan mirrored a 2011 proposal by the Real Estate Board of New York, which an aide from the Bloomberg Administration had described as “a large tax break dressed up as a housing policy.” In his final State of the City address yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also emphasized the need for more affordable housing.

“I’ve had my ups and downs and downs with the mayor,” de Blasio said at a press conference Wednesday attended by the Observer. “But when the mayor says it’s fiscally irresponsible to give so much money to the wealthy, you know you’ve got a problem.”

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He also pointed out Related Companies’ living wage exemption on the Far West Side, which was negotiated by Quinn. “And in that case we weren’t even talking about affordable housing,” he said, although Hudson Yards does have a below-market rate housing component. “We were talking about people trying to make at least $10 an hour so that they could feed their families.”

In lieu of Quinn’s proposal, de Blasio said he would employ the city’s own resources to create affordable housing, but did not specify how he would fund this initiative. [NYO]  –Hiten Samtani


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