Four More Years! But for What? Experts Opine on Economic Development Through ’13

Tax Reforms
The average annual tax for the buyer of a $750,000 Manhattan condo: $5,975. For a $750,000 co-op, it’s $4,453. And for a small home of the same value: $3,301.

Various groups, including from inside the real estate industry, have long pushed for a bit of an injection of rationality into the tax structure-which would require going to Albany to get approval, though some changes could be made locally. When these critics have whined to the Bloomberg administration, officials have generally nodded in agreement, but done little to act.

Rent Reforms
If last year can be seen as a template, tenants and a number of Democratic legislators will make a concerted push to change state rent-regulation laws, attempting to further restrict landlords from converting rent-stabilized apartments to far more lucrative market-rate units. With the debate confined to Albany, the Bloomberg administration steered clear and said almost nothing on the issue. The city bit its tongue intentionally, a city official suggested, and plans to be ready to take a stance this spring.

“There was a reluctance to raise it before the election in a vague way and have it come off as pandering,” the official said. “In actuality, it’s something we’re having substantive policy discussions about.”

Of course, the existing laws are hardly a bright emblem of rationality-they allow a billionaire to be rent-stabilized, for instance, but only until his or her rent reaches $2,000 a month-and there have been many calls for a complete overhaul to the system.

Permanent Affordability
City-owned land has been given away to develop tens of thousands of units of below-market-rate housing under Mayor Bloomberg. But come 20 or 30 years down the line, those affordability requirements generally expire, leaving the city with less land on which to build, and less affordable housing.

Housing advocacy groups-the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development and many others-have long been pushing permanent affordability in these programs, and there was a hope that the issue would gather steam this mayor’s race.
It didn’t.

(Though the mayor did revise his housing plan, scaling back new construction and emphasizing ways to protect properties headed for default and poor management, courtesy of the financial crisis.)

Four More Years! But for What? Experts Opine on Economic Development Through ’13