Thursday, July 12, 2007

BRUCE ON THE LOOSE


In an article titled "Hijacking Asthma",YFP details those members of a Partnership for New York City who would gain from congestion pricing tax. One of those members is Bruce Ratner of the Atlantic Yards development project. So connected is Bruce, that he has managed a multi million dollar gift from state pol, Vito Lopez.Thu Jun 21,2007 at 14:07:38 PM EDT by Phillip Anderson Earlier today I wrote about how the end of the session usually brings us all manner of truly bad legislation, amendments so narrowly written so as to benefit only certain interests, industries or individuals, language so precise they are literally referred to as "contracts."Well here is a perfect illustration of that shameful phenomena, an illustration showing how we give sweet deals to those with enough money to buy a couple legislators to slip this stuff in. In an ironic twist, we are giving tax breaks to a billionaire real estate developer, and him alone, in a bill to eliminate tax breaks to billionaire real estate developers.

"Nice work if you can get it...

Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards Project Would Be The Only Project to Receive Tax Breaks for Luxury Condos Under Bill 421-a. Bruce Ratner is about to join his own exclusive developer's club, once again at taxpayer expense. Forest City Ratner has often claimed that it's not getting anything that any other developer can't get. That was never the case, but now the development firm has positioned itself to get something that no other developer is getting. Albany is creating a special loophole exclusively for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project as part of its bill "reforming" the 421-a tax breaks for development originally enacted in 1971.

With this special legislation Forest City Ratner's market-rate luxury condominiums will be the only such units in the entire reform zone receiving the 421-a tax break, saving the developer untold millions. "This is the cherry on top of all of the special treatment and sweetheart deals Forest City Ratner has been gifted for its Atlantic Yards project. This exclusive clause in the 421-a reform bill, benefiting Bruce Ratner alone, is an astounding example of absolute governmental favoritism, at odds with the very principles for which the reform bill is supposed to stand," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesman, Daniel Goldstein. "There is no valid justification for this favoritism, and clearly there has been an utter lack of transparency in the decision to award one developer a special corporate-welfare package.

Is there any end to the favoritism and backroom dealing that consistently benefits Bruce Ratner? Will Governor Spitzer choose to allow passage of such backroom special dealing? " The special clause within the reform bill does not specifically name the Atlantic Yards project but rather describes "a multi-phase project that includes at least 2,500 dwelling units and (i) being implemented pursuant to a General Project Plan adopted by the New York State Urban Development Corporation and approved by Public Authorities Control Board." There is only one such project in the state fitting that description, and that's Atlantic Yards. Forest City Ratner is also seeking an extraordinary $1.4 billion in government backed, tax-exempt housing bonus.
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