It took nearly two years, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday reached an agreement with the New York State Legislature to put back together a long-running affordable housing program, known as 421-a, that gives developers a city tax break in return for building lower-price rental units.
Just do not call it 421-a.
The newly named Affordable New York Housing Program, announced at a news conference in Albany, will annually generate 2,500 units of housing affordable to poor, working-class and middle-class New Yorkers, Mr. Cuomo said. In a change to the nearly 50-year-old program, developers will be required to pay a “fair wage” to construction workers to qualify for the city tax benefits.
At a time when housing costs have escalated well beyond the means of many New Yorkers, the program was a subject of contention between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Cuomo. Both have made affordable housing a hallmark of their administrations.
But some housing groups and budget watchdogs said that the new version of the program will be more expensive than past versions and that it was overly generous to developers.
The city plan, the result of long negotiations with the Real Estate Board of New York, the development industry’s powerful lobbying arm, was scuttled by the governor, in part because it did not have a requirement to pay union wages.