NYC Council Passes Contentious Law
By Donna Kimura
Affordable housing developers in New York City face a controversial new law that calls for the extensive reporting of wages and other data for projects receiving city funding.
After being passed by the City Council in July, the legislation (Intro 730) was headed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Even if he vetoes the law, the council could still override his vote.
Under the rule, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) would have to report detailed information on the subsidies awarded to projects and provide data on the wages of every individual performing project work by the developer or a contractor.
The move is aimed at increasing transparency at the department and the many affordable housing developments financed by HPD each year, but critics say the requirements will create more red tape and place a huge burden on the industry, especially smaller developers. Affordable housing representatives point out that there could be 50 subcontractors on a project and thousands of wage reports annually.
The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) called for the elimination of the wage-reporting requirements.
“These mandates impose untenable administrative burdens on local and small businesses, putting them at a significant competitive disadvantage, with only the largest businesses able to compete,” said NYSAFAH, which estimated it would cost $40 million to implement Intro 730.
HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua has also been critical. “HPD already vigorously enforces all applicable wage laws,” he said in a statement. “Collecting and stockpiling massive amounts of personal and sensitive wage information offers no clear benefits to the public.”