The 421a Tax Abatement Program

Conceived during the 1970’s as a way to stem the tide of people flooding into the suburbs from the New York metropolitan area, the 421a Tax Abatement Program. While the statues and specifics are about as convoluted as they come the gist of the legislation is that any developer that would be willing to construct residential buildings in any of the five boros would be eligible for property tax exemptions for a number of years, the exact number being dependent upon the area of construction and the number of affordable housing units that would be planned. As one may surmise this nifty little piece of legislation has made it quite profitable to develop in areas where property costs aren’t as extraordinarily expensive as certain areas of Manhattan.

As this law applies to Flatbush and some of the new development projects underway, the 421a Tax Abatement Programs provides for a 25 year property tax exemption program provided that the developer sets aside 20% of the planned units for low income residents. This is exactly the case of 626 Flatbush Avenue, whose 20% low income units make this project eligible for the full 25 year period.

In recent times, the 421a Tax Abatement Program has come under much public scrutiny. People have taken to protesting the continuation of 421a on the grounds that the buildings constructed thanks to this program have, in recent years, been predominantly oriented towards the wealthy. This isn’t particularly difficult to understand, of course developers would try to take full advantage of this lucrative tax break by making the non-subsidized units as expensive as possible. Citing some protestors, 421a has costed tax payers upwards of 1,000,000,000$. This money could have been used for rent vouchers for low-income residents or a myriad other more egalitarian ways.

421a protests

protests like this are becoming more and more common as citizens get increasingly annoyed at how their tax dollars are being used to build housing for the rich

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