Legislators love to whine about the Big Apple’s housing crisis, yet they’re stonewalling Gov. Kathy Hochul’s bid to restore the tax credit behind half the affordable units added in New York City over the last decade.
The 421a tax break encouraged developers to build more affordable housing; Democratic lawmakers opted to let it expire last June. The gripe is the money the credit “gives” to the fat cats — ignoring the fact that without it, they won’t build these projects, so the city still won’t collect the imaginary cash.
Absent 421a or some successor credit, the city will see less housing built, and far fewer affordable units. Under the default tax code, it’s just not profitable to construct anything but luxury complexes, whose high rents can cover ginormous property-tax costs.
Lefties led by Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) would only renew 421a in exchange for passage of a no-evictions bill — which would slam current landlords, especially small-property owners.
Hochul now suggests extending 421a for a few years while negotiating a permanent replacement with the Legislature; she says it’s key to her goal of adding hundreds of thousands of new units statewide. But lawmakers want her to offer her own plan for the new break (after just rejecting her offer last year), rather than putting their own ideas on the table — balking at any dialogue that would expose their lack of a practical vision for getting Gotham the units it needs.
Just as they won’t engage law-enforcement pros when it comes to criminal-justice reforms, progressive lawmakers won’t talk to developers and other industry stakeholders when it comes to housing.
Truly addressing the housing crisis requires a comprehensive package of things like cutting construction and operating costs, reducing red tape, updating the zoning laws and at long last reforming the city’s property-tax system.
But the lefties just want to hate on landlords and big builders, and more moderate Dems won’t speak up, let alone stand up.
By all accounts, the city’s housing crisis is getting worse. More public housing is a no-go —it remains an open question if the city Housing Authority can even preserve what it has. Existing rent-stabilized units are going off the market as they turn vacant because landlords can’t afford tot bring them up to code.
We’re not huge fans of the gov’s master plan, but some 421a successor is a no-brainer. If lawmakers insist on doing nothing but whine and posture, growing families will have no choice but to move away, and even out-of-towners with good job offers will stay away.
Gianaris & Co. need to put their plan on the table, or get out of the way of the folks trying to fix the housing crisis.