421a Reform: It's Back and Badder Than Ever

The housing boom, or what’s left of it, has spawned a strong backlash against real-estate developers. First there was the City Council’s dramatic overhaul of the 421a property-tax incentive, which repealed the tax breaks that Mayors since John Lindsay had given new apartment buildings in lower Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn. Then came state Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s even fiercer proposal, which would require developers to devote 30 percent—up from 20 percent—of a building’s units to low-income households in order to qualify for the tax breaks in the other, more established parts of the city where they would not get breaks automatically.

Tomorrow, the even fiercer (if also rather powerless) state Senate Democrats, led by Senator Liz Krueger, the ranking Democrat on the Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, will introduce their own version. “There are three points where we go farther than Vito’s bill,” according to Travis Proulx, Senator Krueger’s spokesman.

Will this move provide ammunition for Mr. Lopez in his negotiations with the powers that actually run Albany, or be another minority-party bill that goes nowhere?

Stay tuned…