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Mayor De Blasio says he'd get rid of 421-a if lawmakers can't modify to include more affordable housing

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the Fire Department of New York's (annual Medal Day, where firefighters receive awards for acts of courage, at City Hall on June 3, 2015 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he would rather have Albany lawmakers scrap the 421-a developer tax abatement than renew it in its current form.

The tax breaks, which de Blasio wants handcuffed to a requirement to build affordable housing, are set to expire June 15. The state legislative session ends two days later.

"If Albany won't mend it, let's end it," de Blasio said during a service at Harlem's First Corinthian Baptist Church.

De Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this month locked horns over 421-a, begun in the 1970s to provide incentives for development in New York City. The governor said the mayor's tax breaks last too long -- up to 35 years -- and condemned de Blasio's proposal that construction unions build at less than "prevailing wage." The Democrats have since tempered their rhetoric, saying they're working toward a common affordable housing goal.

De Blasio continued Sunday to push Albany for a so-called mansion tax, with extra charges on properties selling at more than $1.75 million, and stronger rent-control laws.

"If they do not act, they will be damning this city to become unaffordable for more and more people," he said of the Republican-run State Senate.

He commended the Democrat-controlled state Assembly and Cuomo, who in a Saturday op-ed also called for beefed-up state laws to keep rent low.

"So as Albany continues to debate rent regulations, our goal must be to strengthen and sustain them, not just extend them," Cuomo wrote in the New York Daily News.

The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment on de Blasio's new stance that 421-a should be eliminated.

The Real Estate Board of New York, which backs de Blasio's proposed changes to 421-a, believes the state still has time to "revise and resolve" the program, organization spokesman Jamie McShane said.

Also Sunday, de Blasio announced the creation of a clergy advisory council. His office said the group, which will consist of members of varying faiths, will hold community meetings on city public safety, housing and education policy.

The Rev. Mike Walrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem will chair the council. He pledged his congregation's help to de Blasio in "trying to balance the scales in this city."

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