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RPAC 2012 legislative victories

NYSAR was successful in accomplishing several of our legislative priorities in 2012 including the passage by both the Senate and Assembly of a bill to streamline the process by which licensees change brokerages, expansion of the historic restoration tax credit, and the defeat of each and every statewide anti-real estate bill that was introduced!

NYSAR strongly supported a bill that provides for a more streamlined process for when a real estate salesperson changes the brokerage they work for and makes a technical correction to address an error in current law related to the license term for real estate brokers, associate brokers and salespersons. This legislation removes the $10 fee when a broker files a "termination of association" notice with one of their salespersons, and increases the "record of association" fee to $20 when that salesperson begins working for a new broker. By removing the fee obligation upon termination, this legislation will allow for a more streamlined transition when a salesperson changes the real estate broker they are associated with. Moreover, it will allow the salesperson to begin practicing real estate in a more timely manner as they cannot begin working for their new broker until their previous broker has filed said "termination" notice with fee. The current broker will still have to terminate the relationship with the salesperson, but the extra hurdle of the $10 fee will be removed.  This bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo and will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Additionally, NYSAR supported a bill to increase the historic restoration tax credit. Under the bill, a 20-percent state tax credit, up to $12 million, would be allowed per restoration/preservation project. Current law only allowed for a 20-percent tax credit up to a maximum of $5 million. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit is a great tool for developers and investors to be used to revitalize historic properties throughout New York State. 

Beyond the bills that we were successful in getting passed through the Legislature, New York REALTORS will also benefit from the defeat of the following proposals that would have attacked the real estate transaction and your livelihood including:

Requirement of License Number Disclosure (A.9349-A DenDekker / S.6911 Savino)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have required every real estate salesperson and real estate broker involved in or present during a real estate transaction to include his or her license number every document requiring a signature. 

Payment of Independent Contractors (A.6698-A Silver / S.4129-C Golden)
Status: Defeated (Note: This bill was amended in both the Senate and Assembly to exclude real estate licensees.)
This legislation would have required independent contractors be paid compensation no later than the last day of the month following the month in which compensation is earned. 

Private Well Testing Act (A.667-A Jaffee / S.2709 Grisanti)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have required a water quality test as a condition of the transfer of any real property served by a well.

Well Water Education Act (A.7866-B Jaffee / S.4755-B Saland)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have required home inspectors, licensed real estate brokers and salespersons to provide well water education materials to prospective buyers regarding the potential hazards of well water.

Expanded Agriculture Disclosure Notice (A.5825 Gunther / S.4958 Ball)
Status: Defeated
This measure would have expanded current law by requiring sellers of property partially or wholly within 500 feet of an agricultural district to provide the agriculture disclosure form to prospective buyers. 

Doubling of Statewide Mortgage Recording Tax (A.3307 Magnarelli)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have doubled the "additional" mortgage recording tax in every county in New York State that is not part of the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District. 

Statewide Transfer Tax Authorization (S.1447 Breslin)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have allowed greater municipal oversight and responsibility for the approval of transfer tax increases, regardless of the intent of the dedicated monies. 

Increasing NYS DEC Wetlands Oversight (A.3374 Sweeney / S.4617 Avella) 
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have increase the state Department of Environmental Conservation's oversight of wetlands. 

Prohibition on Broker Prepared Legal Documents (A.45 Latimer/S.3473 Oppenheimer)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have prohibited the use of "broker prepared" real estate contracts. 

Restrictions on Property Owners Use of Apartments (A.3033 Lopez / S.81 Squadron)
Status: Defeated
This bill sought to prohibit property owners subject to rent regulation from recovering more than one apartment for their personal use. 

Citizen Initiated Environmental Lawsuits (A.4801Kavanagh)
Status: Defeated
This legislation would have granted private citizens the ability to commence a civil action seeking to remedy certain violations to the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). 

Voter Registration (A.5909 Kavanagh / S.1560 Addabbo)
Status: Defeated
This bill would have required every landlord that rents residential real property in New York State to provide tenants with voter registration forms at the time of lease execution.

On the broader issues, as is typical for Albany, this year has been full of great progress and great delay. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature were successful in enacting many important reforms including: the creation of a new Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs; implementation of a new Tier VI pension plan that is expected to save local governments roughly $80 billion over the next 30 years; the first all-crimes DNA databank; reduction of the middle-class income tax rates; elimination of the MTA payroll tax for roughly 700,000 small businesses; and the creation of a statewide teacher evaluation system. In addition to these reforms, the Legislature and governor, for the second year in a row, enacted an on-time balanced budget with no new taxes or fees.

However, despite all their success, many issues were left undone including, major mandate relief. This year NYSAR joined a coalition of 11 business, local government and education organizations to launch "Let New York Work: A Common Agenda for the Common Good." This initiative was designed to advance significant mandate relief in New York such as making the pension system predictable and affordable, reducing the costs of construction on public/private projects, and reforming the Scaffold Law. Unfortunately, NYSAR and the coalition did not see much, if any, progress on this agenda. NYSAR will continue to work with this coalition next year and will continue to advocate for mandate relief for New York's local governments and school districts. 

There are reports that the governor may call the Legislature back for a Special Session after the November elections. One item that they may take up is legislative, executive and agency pay raises.