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Making NY user-friendly to business.

New York's state budget will include total business tax cuts in the range of $50 million in the current year and $168 million when fully implemented next year. The budget extends for 18 months the exemption from the 10 percent real property gains tax for new construction until mid-1997.

These are the first positive signs in years that New York State government policymakers are learning that real estate development - in itself - is a very high risk industry and must be made attractive to encourage its expansion. Real estate needs far less rules and regulations that restrict, strangle and thwart its development.

The larger picture requires that New York become "user friendly" to business across the board. The incontrovertible evidence is that user-friendly cities are growing cities.

With the increasing flexibility of telecommunications, mobile offices and the like, people are gravitating to more hospitable environs. In some cases, they are being pushed there by existing negative conditions in older established cities.

New York City, unfortunately, still abounds in user-hostile conditions. Consider this one example: A plague of street vendors, incubated by the weak dollar and the influx of tourists, clogs our shopping avenues and eats away at the profit potential of legitimate, rent- and tax-paying retailers. For legitimate business, this is not a level playing field.

On the positive side, there are indications that some of the problems are being addressed by government. For example, it has just been learned that the state Urban Development Corporation will study and analyze the economic impact of extending the commuter rail lines into lower Manhattan.

The study was requested by the Alliance for Downtown New York, the new Wall Street area Business Improvement District. UDC insists that the study is not at the level of a cost analysis; there must be positive economic justification even for such an analysis. ABO believes that this is a step in the right direction and applauds this action.

The city's new Planning Commission Chairman, Joseph Rose, recently delivered more evidence of enlightened government leadership at a recent ABO luncheon meeting of our general membership. He said, "We must dramatically re-orient the way government treats the goose that lays the golden eggs."

He added, optimistically, "The business community has persisted despite some remarkably destructive policies toward economic development." Indeed, Chairman Rose envisions a new "golden age" for New York City just a decade down the road, after balanced government budgets and government "transformations" have been achieved.

For the present, no one can deny that government appears to be re-inventing itself. In New York City, real estate professionals - whether in ownership, development or management - must remain up-to-date on issues relating to the current alleged panacea of privatization and centralization of government services.

Only one New York City real estate organization, Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York, Inc., offers a full-time presence in the three seats of power: Washington, Albany and City Hall.

New York City's real estate market is unique, and therefore it requires specialized, full-time representation - the type of representation that ABO provides to all of its members.

On the national level, the highly touted "re-invention" of the Department of Housing and Urban Development may have dire consequences for New York City's residential building owners and tenants alike. If Section 8 subsidies are to be discontinued and replaced with relocation vouchers, where will hard-working New York families find new affordable housing?

And what happens to the private investors who got sucked into the government's promise jointly to seek solutions to the daunting problem of affordable housing?

ABO's Legal Committee is composed of the city's leading real estate and tax attorneys. They monitor each and every item of proposed legislation and policy at all three levels of government. On a day-to-day basis, the Committee's expertise assures that every ABO member is fully informed on issues and provided with answers, strategy and forecast impact.

In conclusion, we are going through dramatic government changes, the likes of which we've never seen before. The cost of success is vigilance. We invite you to join us in this battle.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mid-Year Review and Forecast; New York, New York
Author:Belson, Jerome
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Jun 21, 1995
Words:677
Previous Article:Tenant concerns: a strategic assessment.
Next Article:Contemporary real estate: dreams vs. realities.
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