421A is Back As Affordable NY

Two years after a punt to the private sector, lawmakers voted late Sunday to revive the 421a developer tax abatement, part of the state’s $163 billion budget.

The program, now called Affordable New York, closely follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal from January. The key changes to the abatement — from the version that expired in 2016 — include wage requirements for construction workers on certain projects and a 35-year break from property taxes (up from 25) on large projects that pay these wages.

The state Assembly approved the program on Saturday as part of a revenue bill. The Senate followed suit Sunday evening, in a 53-4 vote on the floor.

Affordable New York was lumped in this budget season’s “big ugly,” Albany parlance for legislation that’s a land mine of controversial issues. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk, and he is expected to sign it.

In a press conference Friday night, Cuomo said that the program also releases $2.5 billion to create 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. The funds were part of a memorandum of understanding that has been the subject of considerable finger-pointing between the governor Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and other leaders who gave contrasting explanations for the holdup of their release.

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