Ratner’s latest sweetheart deal

How did a state Assembly bill designed to stimulate affordable housing end up including a huge tax break for Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner? The Explainer breaks it down.

What happened?

A state Assembly bill sought to expand a requirement that developers build affordable housing in order to receive a tax break called “421–a.” At the last minute, Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D– Bushwick) added an amendment that created an exemption specifically for Atlantic Yards. The exemption allows Ratner to get the tax break on buildings that don’t include affordable housing.

Why did Lopez do this?

Only Lopez knows for sure, and he isn’t talking.

Who benefits?

Ratner. Governmental watchdogs say the break will save him an estimated $175 million in property taxes.

Who got played?

Taxpayers, who lose $175 million in revenue.

What’s the big deal?

It comes on top of the $305 million in direct subsidies that the city and state have already allocated to the supposedly privately built project. Ratner is also receiving close to $1.4-billion in low-interest loans, plus hundreds of millions more in indirect subsidies.

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