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Bloomberg calls for 421-a veto, says Ratner "doesn't need" tax break

Mayor Mike Bloomberg offered his first public criticism of the "Atlantic Yards carve-out" during a radio interview today, saying developer Bruce Ratner "doesn't need" a special tax break that could be worth $300 million.

The criticism came almost as an aside while Bloomberg made the larger argument that Governor Eliot Spitzer should veto the 421-a reform passed by the legislature.

Listening in

At about 20:45 of the mayhor's weekly appearance on the John Gambling Show, the host raised the question of 421-a, subject of an extensive article in today's Times.

Bloomberg responded: Well, I hope the Governor vetoes it… You want people to build affordable housing, but you don’t want it to be so onerous that they won’t, and there are places they’re going to build anyway, so there’s no reason to give them tax breaks... Our City Council… came up with a good balance of building affordable housing and also building the market-rate housing that we need. We consulted with everybody, it was an extensive study, it was done totally on the merits. It gets to Albany and, with some pressure from one real estate group here who ought to be ashamed of themselves, all of a sudden it applies to a much bigger area, which will really keep housing from being built there. It’s going to hurt the very people that everybody talks about helping. And gives some tax breaks to a developer that doesn’t need ‘em, which we didn’t have to do. I can only hope the governor stands up and vetoes it, because it really should not become the law of this state.

Arguable

As noted, it's arguable that the City Council balance is perfect. And the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) didn't pressure the state to expand the "exclusion zone;" rather REBNY acceded to the map proferred by Assemblyman Vito Lopez in exchange for a six-month extension of the current law and, apparently, the special deal for Forest City Ratner.

Slam?

The Brooklyn Paper broke the story earlier this afternoon with a story headlined Bloomy slams the “Ratner carve-out”. It wasn't quite a slam, but, given that the mayor is a vigorous supporter of Atlantic Yards, it is notable.

When I asked Bloomberg Wednesday about 421-a and the carve-out, he declined the opportunity to comment on FCR's special deal. Apparently things are heating up.

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