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Proud to play a part in building the greatest city in the world.

The real estate industry has played a pivotal role in making New York City the capital of the world. It is the high octane fuel that allows the city's economic engine to rev at high speed.

Every day, real estate touches the lives of the city's more than eight million residents, hundreds of thousands of workers who live outside the city and commute to Manhattan and the outer boroughs, and the millions who visit the city each year.

The real estate industry plays a role in the stores where they shop, offices where they work, restaurants where they dine and the theaters where they are entertained.

As the voice of the industry, REBNY is among the driving forces that keep it strong and I am proud to be able to play a part and humbled to have been asked to serve as its chairman.

REBNY members are among the most driven, hard working and creative professionals in New York.

At this evening's banquet, we honor several real estate executives who possess these characteristics and many others.

They are deserving of special recognition by their peers and I am very proud to have one thing in common with them--being a member of REBNY.

REBNY will continue to play an important role in City Hall, and up and down the halls of the Capitol in Albany, to ensure that legislation and regulations being considered are in the best interest of our members and all New Yorkers.

The recent Independent Budget Office's study of the city's property tax system notes that commercial property taxes are higher in New York City than any other U.S. city with a population over one million. In addition, newly constructed condos are unfairly assessed at the same tax rates as rental properties.

This makes new residential construction extremely expensive to build and extremely expensive to own.

REBNY will work with the city to help develop a fairer tax system that helps to attract business, rather than chase it away.

Housing, especially affordable housing, will be a focal point of important real estate issues this year and beyond. In just 23 years, the city's population is expected to increase to nine million.

To put that in perspective, that is like adding the population of the entire state of Montana!

All those people will need a place to live and REBNY will be at the forefront of the issue. We will work to see that they not only have a place to live, but one that is functional, comfortable and affordable--one in which their inhabitants are proud to call home.

I look forward to a productive partnership with REBNY's board and members, and city and state officials, in working toward maintaining New York's position as the greatest city in the world.

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Author:Ross Stephen
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 17, 2007
Previous Article:Real Estate Board involved in key Albany legislation.
Next Article:REBNY presents retail deal of the Year Awards.

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