Southern Brooklyn

Golden Backs Bill That Provides Massive Tax Breaks For Developers Of Luxury Manhattan Apartment Buildings

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State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)
State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden sponsored a bill that provides huge tax breaks for Manhattan luxury apartment building developers. The New York Daily News is reporting that legislation backed by Golden designates tax breaks for five developments, costing the city tens of millions of dollars as the city wrangles with an already starved budget.

One of the buildings eligible for a tax break includes One57, a massive 75-story luxury apartment development being built near Central Park. Believing that the legislation will help create jobs, Golden otherwise pleaded ignorance when questioned on the breaks.

“These projects were ready to go,” Golden told the Daily News. “I’m not sure where they came from,” Golden said in response to who earmarked the developments for special favor.

The bill’s sponsor in the Assembly, Keith Wright, a Manhattan Democrat, was also unsure for who and why the tax breaks were included.

“These five properties — it was important that they benefit from the piece of legislation probably, and I don’t know why, because some of the folks in the Senate wanted them to be included,” Wright told the Daily News.

The answer as to why the developments got special favors was not surprising. The Daily News discovered that significant campaign contributions were made to various state campaign committees:

The developers of four of the projects, their relatives and affiliated companies gave $1.5 million to various state campaign committees during 2008-12 — including $440,962 last year, records show.

The contributions included $53,000 to the state Senate Republican campaign treasury, $34,000 to the war chest of Assembly Democrats and $150,000 to the campaign of Gov. Cuomo, who signed the bill Jan. 30.

Advocates of campaign finance reform saw this measure as another example of how the system is broken.

“That real estate developers were able to win such a huge giveaway is a reflection of . . . just how broken the current campaign finance system is,” Jaron Benjamin, president of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, told the Daily News. “The reason Albany lawmakers agreed to spend millions subsidizing luxury housing for the wealthy is clear: Developers who contributed to their campaigns . . . expected to be rewarded.”

City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu sent out a press release today blasting the actions of the Senate and Assembly.

“Extending tax breaks to super-luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan is wrongheaded and shows grossly misplaced priorities. It’s sad and outrageous that billionaires get huge subsidies while the Rent Guidelines Board considers significant rent increases for millions of New Yorkers. It’s especially galling that the tax abatement in question, called 421-a, was meant to promote construction of affordable housing,” Liu said in the release.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Ridiculous and so sad. Corruption in Albany is acknowledged by just about everyone but yet bills like this are still passed. Does Cuomo have any say in this?

  2. Did he “back” the bill or “sponsor” it? Big difference. Especially since he appears not to know what the bill contains.

  3. That’s a pretty big jump. Adult day care facilities are not universally bad, and it sounds to me like this is designed to authorize assisted living homes – which are more established in communities than the strange little shops that have opened up to offer these services – to offer the services as well. And a key thing is also here:

    “This bill would authorize ALPs and other licensed
    adult care facilities to apply to the Department of Health to operate adult day health care programs, and provide such services to seniors living in the community if approved by the Department. The Department will only approve a new adult day health care program if there is unmet need in the County where the facility is located.”

    It seems to me the problems with adult day care facilities are in the vetting of service providers and the vigilance of auditors.

  4. How about a tax break for those of us repairing our homes after Sandy? Or even a reprieve on the $100 minimum charges for water services that we are not using!

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