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State officials propose changes to affordable housing eligibility rules

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They want area median income to be calculated based on zip codes

Two state legislators representing parts of Queens have introduced a new bill that could dramatically change the way area median income is calculated, specifically relating to projects built under a revived version of the 421-a tax break program, The Real Deal reports.

Currently, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development calculates AMI based on a particular region. The one that concerns NYC also includes Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties. Hence the AMI stands at $65,200.

The elected officials proposing the new bill, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assembly member Brian Barnwell, are asking that the AMI instead be calculated specific to the zip code in which the project is built.

In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposal to replace the now defunct 421-a tax break program—Affordable New York. That proposal is yet to be taken up by the state legislature, so this AMI proposal will likely be contingent upon that as well.

Governor Cuomo’s proposal has affordability bands that vary between 40 percent and 130 percent of AMI, and this new law would directly impact how rents are calculated for affordable units within buildings utilizing the proposed new tax break program.