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Tax-Break Plan for New York City Developers Wastes Money, Hurts Renters

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A plan by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other New York state officials to increase tax breaks for real estate developers in New York City is a wasteful giveaway that threatens affordable housing, a member of the Alliance for Tenant Power advocacy group, Delsenia Glover, told Sputnik at a rally Thursday.

NEW YORK (Sputnik) – "The governor is advocating for a massive increase of tax giveaways to luxury developers," Glover said. "If the deal goes through, it will be even less likely that we can get anything done on rent regulation."

She expressed concern over the possibility that Cuomo and state legislative leaders in New York will reach a deal to revive New York City’s so-called 421a program, which requires that new buildings set aside a certain percentage of units for affordably priced housing.

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The program expired at the end of 2015, but local media reports have said a special legislative session in the state capital, Albany, could include the finalization of a new 421a – named for a section of New York City’s housing code – that activists such as Glover say would hurt low- and middle-income renters.

The proposal could give developers as much as $2.4 billion a year in tax breaks, double the amount under the expired program, with no new affordable-housing benefits, said Glover, who gathered with dozens of other people in front of New York City Hall in Manhattan for the rally.

The state plan is opposed by several Democratic members of the legislature from New York City, including state Senator Liz Krueger, who wrote on her official Twitter account, "421a is a bad deal, and the latest version is even worse."

The Alliance for Tenant Power, a coalition of eight groups, was formed last year to coordinate efforts to protect renters’ rights and preserve rent regulation in New York City.

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