Af­ford­able hous­ing plan re­worked for New York

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - HT ESTATES -

The push and pull be­tween New York City’s mayor, Bill de Bla­sio, and his archri­val, Gov. An­drew M. Cuomo, sur­faced again this week over an is­sue both men con­sider key to their ad­min­is­tra­tions: pro­vid­ing af­ford­able hous­ing for New York­ers.

De Bla­sio has had a luke­warm re­sponse to Cuomo’s ver­sion of a plan to re­vise a pro­gramme that en­cour­ages the con­struc­tion of apart­ments for low- and mod­er­atein­come New York­ers, which is now in the hands of the state leg­is­la­ture. Un­der 421-a, as the pro­gramme is known, de­vel­op­ers are given gen­er­ous New York City tax breaks if they agree to set aside a block of apart­ments for work­ing-class and mid­dle-class ten­ants in oth­er­wise mar­ket-rate build­ings.

Over the last two years, 421-a has had a tor­tured his­tory. In 2015, with the 421-a pro­gramme set to ex­pire at the end of the year un­less the Leg­is­la­ture re­newed it, de Bla­sio, a demo­crat, pro­posed a re­vised ver­sion that sweet­ened the sub­sidy for de­vel­op­ers in ex­change for the cre­ation of more be­low­mar­ket units.

But Cuomo, also a demo­crat, re­jected that ver­sion say­ing that it did not of­fer wages high enough for union con­struc­tion work­ers. The leg­is­la­ture passed a six­month ex­ten­sion and called on the real es­tate in­dus­try and con­struc­tion unions to reach a deal on wages that would al­low the abate­ment to con­tinue. But the two sides could not agree, and the pro­gramme died on Jan­uary 15, 2016. The gov­er­nor then worked on his own ver­sion of the leg­is­la­tion in ne­go­ti­a­tions with con­struc­tion unions and the mem­bers of the real es­tate in­dus­try’s pow­er­ful lob­by­ing group, the Real Es­tate Board of New York. That ver­sion is now un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by the leg­is­la­ture.

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