Tag Archives: NYC

Advocate Matthew Interviewed by Michel Rachon on TV Republika

Advocate Matthew Tyrmand was interviewed by Michel Rachon on the show Wolne Glosy on TV Republika. He discussed a ban from the NYC consulate, an undercover sting video by James O’Keefe, the RTMx, and the corrupt political class.

You can watch the full interview in Polish below.

If you’d like to book Matthew or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.

The Corruption of NYC Affordable Housing

Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly’s speaker for the past 21 years, was indicted last month for taking millions in kickbacks from the real-estate lobby, among other special interests. These allegations, if true, reveal a dark truth for Democratic voters — and not just that they have been supporting a crook: Silver, whose district resides at the southern tip of Manhattan and contains neighborhoods both rich and poor, repaid his constituents for two decades of reelection by corrupting the NYC real-estate market with unnecessary tax subsidies.

According to the federal complaint against Silver, he is accused of taking approximately $4 million in kickbacks, most of it from real-estate interests, in exchange for granting favors via the assembly’s role in two development programs — 421-a and 80/20. 421-a provides substantial tax exemptions for developers that create new residential buildings and reserve 20 percent of the units for affordable housing, or that, in lieu of creating affordable housing on-site, create it elsewhere or buy “certificates” from other developers that do. The 80/20 program similarly offers tax-exempt financing and credits to new residential developments that make available 20 percent of the on-site units at an affordable rent for a negotiated period of time.

These programs began in the 1960s and 1970s and at first may have seemed like a typical progressive plan to help the poor. But recently, they have mainly done the opposite. Today, the programs do encourage some affordable-housing growth in the city’s outer boroughs, but they do so at the cost of spurring the growth of high-income housing in the areas where rents — and the threat of gentrification — are already highest. This pushes the poor and middle class out of their homes, a problem that has been especially pronounced with 421-a.

As the New York City population — and thus the demand for housing — skyrocketed over the past decade or so, developers began using the credits to subsidize their luxury buildings with credits from elsewhere. According to the New York Observer, “outer-borough builders earn four or five certificates for each unit of affordable housing they produce, and then sell the paper for $12,000 to $20,000 each to Manhattan developers to qualify for 10-year tax abatements on market-rate condos and rentals.” Consequently, government-subsidized condominiums popped up in Manhattan and Brooklyn — at a time when rents in New York were rising much faster than rents in the rest of the country.

Read the rest at RealClearPolicy…