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REBNY announces agenda.

Last week, a Real Estate Board of New York task force issued a 47-page report suggesting ways to sustain economic growth in New York City. Sent to all six of the mayoral candidates, the "Economic Development Agenda for a New Millenium" is the product of a joint venture between the private sector and REBNY staff.

It took years to put together, according to Leslie Himmel, co-chair of the task force.

"The report benefits from having people from all over the city helping compiling the information, from Long Island City to the Far West side of Manhattan," said Himmel.

The four areas covered in the report are tax policy, business attraction and retention, planning and infrastructure, and housing. Within each category, the report features ways that the next administration can keep the city's real estate market strong.

"It is important to remember what kept our economy growing during the past nine years. Keeping New York attractive to businesses and workers in our traditional industries and the emerging sectors, such as biotech is an ongoing challenge," according to the report.

The report suggests eliminating the commercial rent tax, enacting a 100 percent credit against Personal Income Tax for Unincorporated Business Tax or Subchapter S Corporation Tax paid by New York City residents. Also, the Real Property Transfer and Mortgage Recording Taxes should be reduced by 50 percent.

Rezoning the far west side of Manhattan was mentioned, as was amending the REAP program to include non-profit companies.

Moving down the list, the report advised the siting of new generating facilities and an acceleration of conservation measures. Zoning underutilized manufacturing land for residential use would also help.

The Second Avenue subway line should be built, as an extension of the No. 7 line through the Far West side of Manhattan should also happen. On that note, connecting the LIRR to Grand Central is needed, according to the report, while also upgrading airport access to and from the central business district.

Housing, the final category, included suggestions that the HDC middle income program should be expanded. The creation of a 15 year tax exemption would also be vital.

"In our view, an integrated approach to all these matters is essential to a successful economic development strategy. We feel that these proposals, adopted collectively, offer a sound plan for protecting New York's prosperity," said Steven Spinola, REBNY president.

Added Michael Slattery, senior vice president at REBNY: "We want to keep the growth going. You just cannot stand still and grow," he said.

None of the six mayoral candidates have responded to the report.

"We will follow up with them," said Slattery.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 4, 2001
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