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Mayor De Blasio says he would get rid of 421-a if lawmakers can't modify to include more affordable housing

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the Fire Department of New York's (annual Medal Day, where firefighters receive awards for acts of courage, at City Hall on June 3, 2015 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Mayor Bill de Blasio for the first time said Sunday he favors scrapping the 421-a developer tax abatement program altogether if state lawmakers don't modify it to include more affordable housing.

"If Albany won't mend it, let's end it," he said at Harlem church service.

De Blasio has proposed an extension of the decades-old program -- which provides tax breaks to developers to encourage building in New York City -- with modifications to require affordable housing in each project and use union construction labor at less than "prevailing wage."

The mayor and fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this month locked horns over the plan, with the governor saying de Blasio's proposed tax breaks last for too long -- up to 35 years -- and workers deserve a fair wage. Unions have backed Cuomo in the spat and real estate groups have supported de Blasio.

De Blasio and Cuomo have since tempered their rhetoric, saying they're both working toward the same goal of building affordable housing.

Cuomo's office did not immediately response to a request for comment on de Blasio's statement to the congregation at First Corinthian Baptist Church, on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, that the tax break should be dropped rather than continue under the "status quo."

"Condominiums got a tax break. No more, brothers and sisters," de Blasio said, adding, "We have proposed to Albany some rules to change the game."

The 421-a program expires June 15.

De Blasio said to murmurs of agreement from the hundreds of churchgoers that the city has become more and more unaffordable. With Albany's legislative session drawing to a close on June 17, the mayor also lobbied for stronger rent control laws.

Additionally Sunday, de Blasio announced the creation of a clerical advisory council. The Rev. Mike Walrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church will be a member of the group "directly" advising the mayor, de Blasio said to thunderous applause from Walrond's congregants.


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