Fight Escalates: Cuomo Says de Blasio Too Easy on Developers

NEW YORK (AP) -

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for renewing a real estate tax break would let developers get away with underpaying construction workers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

“If government is giving subsidies to these rich real estate developers, why isn’t the government insisting on a fair wage for the workers on the projects?” Cuomo said in response to a question about the tax break, known as 421-a.

De Blasio traveled to Albany on Wednesday in an effort to spur Cuomo and state lawmakers to act on the tax break as well as rent regulations and renewing mayoral control of New York City schools.

De Blasio has worked with real estate interests to draft a version of the tax break that expands the affordable-housing requirements. But construction unions have faulted the bill for not requiring developers to pay construction workers the prevailing wage.

Asked about the tax break at a Manhattan news conference about nail salon regulations, Cuomo said, “The mayor negotiated a bill that many people criticized as a giveaway to wealthy landlords. The mayor’s bill is opposed by the entire labor movement, the AFL-CIO, as not only a giveaway to rich landlords, but they believe the mayor’s plan hurts the workers and doesn’t pay the workers a fair wage, what they call the prevailing wage.”

However, de Blasio’s tax incentive plan does have the support of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. Its members would receive the prevailing wage under the plan.

The governor and the mayor, who profess to be close friends, having worked together in President Bill Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, have led an escalating feud in the past year that has sometimes turned personal.

De Blasio, in an interview with WABC’s Diana Williams that aired Sunday, said Cuomo is “not acting like a partner” on the issue of renewing the tax incentive.

“I think the bottom line is that he’s putting out distractions when we need to get to the core issue,” de Blasio said. “We have a chance to get something done.”