Don’t End It, Mend It

The Story


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One of Mayor de Blasio’s key goals is the construction of 80,000 new units of “affordable housing.” To get there, de Blasio wants to extend the 421-a law, which gives tax breaks to developers building such housing but has become a target of progressive critics, who point out that the tax exemptions have sometimes been used to construct luxury buildings. The mayor should instead reinstate a clause of the law that allowed developers to keep the tax breaks for their expensive buildings while constructing the affordable housing “off site”—in less pricey neighborhoods, especially in the Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn. The result would be more affordable units at less cost to the city.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. A Better Way: Reinstating the “tax certificate” portion of the 421-a law would be far less costly than the present system, which costs the city three times as much.  Read more

  2. Expensive “Affordability”: Affordable units in market-rate buildings in Manhattan may be subsidized by as much as $3800 per month. Read more

  3. Real Affordability: if the city brought back tax certificates, it could build three one-bedroom affordable units in Astoria—or four in Bedford-Stuyvesant—for the price of one affordable unit in Manhattan. Read more

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

There Is a Way to End The Housing Crunch By Peter Salins (February 2002)

How can the city unleash new housing development? Changing the city’s inflexible zoning laws should be at the top of Bloomberg’s list. The city actually has a great deal of vacant land–749 million square feet, or 47,500 separate parcels to be precise–but little of it can be used for high-volume residential development. Under current zoning rules, 24% of vacant land is set aside for manufacturing, and 60% is designated for low-density residential use. In desirable parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, development is further constrained by a variety of special districts or programs.

On The Calendar

May 20

May 20, 2015 | New York City

In Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young, MI senior fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, and MI fellow Jared Meyer tell the full, outrageous story of the betrayal of America’s youth, including: how the government robs Millennials to pay for lavish services for their parents and grandparents; how schools leave Millennials shamefully ill-equipped and burdened by debt; and how numerous laws and regulations discourage Millennials from landing jobs and starting careers. Click here to RSVP.

And in other news...

Just in time for cap-and-gown season, a new report from New York real estate listings website StreetEasy shows where graduates with different degrees will be able to afford apartments.