THE NEW YORK TIMES: August 8, 2007
Bill Aims to Spur Housing for the Poor in New York
By JANNY SCOTT
New York City officials and state legislators have reached an agreement to overhaul a popular tax break for apartment building developers. The aim of the revision is to encourage the construction of tens of thousands of apartments for New Yorkers of limited means.
.It will significantly expand the number of neighborhoods where developers are required to include apartments for low- and moderate-income tenants in new buildings in order to receive tax breaks.
Bertha Lewis, executive director of New York Acorn, an advocacy group for low-income people, said: “This deal means fewer developers will get fewer dollars to build luxury high rises in gentrifying neighborhoods. Not only that but hundreds of millions of dollars will be set aside to build affordable housing.”
Under the 421-a program, begun in the 1970s to spur housing development of any kind, developers have received a 10- to 25-year exemption from the increase in property taxes that results from their work. When the real estate market in Manhattan revived in the 1980’s, the program was modified to require developers in central Manhattan to build not just market-rate apartments but some lower-priced units to obtain the tax break.