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Deep-pocketed donors with ties to New York’s real-estate industry are still putting their money behind embattled three-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo, campaign records reveal.
Developers, landlords, building lenders and other industry associates pumped nearly $500,000 into Cuomo’s re-election coffers over the past six months.
That’s more than 20 percent of the $2.3 million raised by Cuomo for the first half of 2021.
Many of the contributions poured in right before the campaign fundraising deadline.
Housing activists blasted the donations, noting that an important state law expires next June 15 that gives luxury developers’ projects generous tax abatements for charging non-market or “affordable” rents for up to 30 percent of their new apartments.
The program is supported by the Real Estate Board of New York, which donated $5,000 to Cuomo from its political action committee.
“It’s classic pay-to-play. There’s no doubt about it,” Michael McKee of the Tenants PAC, which wants the law repealed, charged of the political donations to Cuomo.
“We are going to spearhead a major campaign to terminate this law. It’s totally obscene we are subsidizing millionaires and billionaires with property tax breaks. There’s a glut of luxury housing.”
The so-called 421-A tax abatement was renewed in 2015 and 2017, when Republicans controlled the state Senate. The Democrats now control both houses of the Legislature and may be less inclined to give more than $1 billion a year in tax breaks to developers’ apartment complexes in exchange for affordable housing set-asides.
Forty donors with ties to real estate contributed to Cuomo’s re-election, totaling $465,000, the campaign filing shows.
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