Cuomo: 421a is still unresolved because it doesn’t make sense to link the abatement to rent regulations

Governor said the battle over the expired tax program is "ideological, philosophical"

<em>Andrew Cuomo</em>
Andrew Cuomo

Despite reports that legislators reached a deal to revive 421a, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday night that “differences” in opinion still stood in the tax abatement’s way.

“What we’re down to is truly ideological issues,” he said. “421a is an ideological, philosophical issue.”

In a circuitous press conference that seemed to leave much of the press corps scratching their heads as to why exactly it had been called, Cuomo noted that many controversial state issues remained unsettled. These “ideological issues” include the Raise the Age bill (which would increase the minimum age for criminal responsibility to 18) and 421a, he said. Though Cuomo criticized the state Legislature for failing to pass a budget by the April 1 deadline, he cited the uncertainty of the Federal Budget as a reason to further draw out budget negotiations. The governor said the state needs the kind of “financial flexibility” that the federal government achieved through the continuing resolution passed in December. He explained that approving a full budget deal now could force the state to change course mid-year when additional federal cuts come to light.

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“It’s important that we not put our financial feet in cement,” Cuomo said.

Still, the governor indicated that he’d be willing to sign off on the bills already passed by both houses. He also said he wouldn’t necessarily object to the Assembly and Senate pushing through the rest of the budget. The Senate and Assembly adjourned shortly after the announcement.

When asked about rent regulation being linked to 421a, which Politico reported was part of the deal reached on Tuesday, he noted that it took two years to negotiate the tax abatement. Rent regulation is up for renewal in two years, meaning Affordable New York — the latest iteration of 421a — could be wiped out after only two years. He said he understands why one was hitched to other, but it doesn’t make sense.

“You can’t have a program exist for only two years,” he said.