Weekly Report for April 24, 2020
Congress Clears Latest Coronavirus Relief Bill to Replenish Funding
The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday providing nearly $500 billion in coronavirus relief funding, including additional funding for small-business relief programs championed by NAR and available to REALTORS® through the CARES Act. The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday. President Trump is expected to sign the measure, which will clear the way for lending to resume under two Small Business Administration programs, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. Learn more about obtaining PPP and EIDL Business Loans here with an FAQ section here.
NYC Council introduces tenant protection bills
This week the New York City Council introduced a package of bills aimed at assisting tenants and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. One proposal would pause evictions and debt collections until April 2021 by prohibiting New York City marshals and sheriffs from taking property or executing money judgments. NYSAR is closely monitoring this proposal. Other bills would create new anti-harassment measures for renters, suspend personal liability provisions in commercial leases for businesses impacted while the state of emergency is in effect, and suspend annual sidewalk cafe fees. Read more.
Register to Vote – Deadline May 29
Make sure you are registered to vote! The state and federal primary elections are June 23, 2020, and the deadline to register to vote or update your voting address is May 29. Registering to vote is crucial because these elections will impact you and your business. Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced all New Yorkers will be allowed to vote by absentee ballot for the June 23 election. You can register to vote here.
Weekly Report for April 17, 2020
NYSAR continues talks with State Legislature on rent relief proposals
This week, NYSAR staff held remote meetings with Senate and Assembly Housing Committee staff and counsel to discuss legislative proposals that would provide rental payment relief to residential and commercial tenants along with a voucher program to fund lost income to landlords. NYSAR stressed that any relief package must also provide substantial relief to building owners. On Wednesday, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) and Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) issued a letter to New York’s congressional delegation calling on the federal government to provide $100 billion in stimulus money for residential rental assistance, with 10 percent of the funds going to New York. Read more.
Small business rescue funds depleted with Congress deadlocked
The small business rescue fund set up by Congress exhausted its $350 billion funding capacity Thursday morning. Without additional funding, banks and the Small Business Administration will be unable to approve more of the Paycheck Protection Program loans. Congress continues to work toward an agreement on the terms of a new stimulus package. Some banks plan to continue taking applications and are urging the SBA and Treasury Department to release guidance on how lenders should keep processing loans in the interim. Read more.
Governor Cuomo extends Stay-at-Home order to May 15
On Thursday, Governor Cuomo extended New York’s stay-at-home order to May 15. It was set to expire on April 29. The governor also directed all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. Read more.
Weekly Report for April 10, 2020
COVID-19 resources and FAQs for NY REALTORS
Stay up to date and informed on COVID-19 and how it impacts you and your industry by visiting NYSARCovidupdates.com, NYSAR’s website section devoted specifically to COVID-19 related issues, updated NYS guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on topics such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Every New Yorker allowed voting by absentee ballot for June 23 elections
Governor Cuomo announced that every New Yorker will be allowed to vote by absentee ballot in elections held on June 23, 2020, including the Democratic presidential primary, as well as congressional, state and local primaries. The state board of elections, however, may cancel the Democratic presidential primary following the announcement by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that he has suspended his campaign. Read more.
NYC Mayor de Blasio announces city budget cuts
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that his Executive Budget will be released on April 23, 2020. De Blasio said he wants to implement $1.3 billion in cuts to city agencies, an amount that could increase based on COVID-19 related expenditures and further evidence of revenue reductions. If approved, these funding cuts could result in service and program curtailments across multiple areas of the city government. Read more.
New prevailing wage requirements for construction projects
Included in this year’s state budget (S.7508-B/A.9508-B, Part FFF) is a new requirement that public works’ prevailing wages be paid for construction work on certain private-sector projects receiving state or local economic development assistance. In general, this applies to private construction projects valued at $5 million or more, when total state and local assistance represents 30 percent or more of the construction project costs. The Business Council of New York State provides more details on the new prevailing wage law here.
Weekly Report for April 3, 2020
State Budget approved; no new real estate taxes or fees included
State lawmakers passed a $178 billion budget in the early hours of April 3 with the possibility of future spending cuts depending on federal funding and how the state’s economy recovers as it faces possible revenue losses totaling $10 to $15 billion as a result of COVID-19.
NYSAR met with Governor Cuomo’s staff and state lawmakers throughout the final weeks of budget negotiations to express our concerns with several proposals which were not adopted in this year’s final budget, including establishing a good cause eviction standard, expansion of wetlands oversight, reclassifying independent contractors as employees and a statewide suspension of rents without proper relief to property owners. Further changes to incentivize homeowners to move from the STAR Exemption program to the STAR Credit program were not adopted in the budget. Additionally, there were no new real estate taxes included in the budget.
Other budget highlights include:
- Establishing a paid sick leave program for employees, requiring businesses with 1 to 99 employees to provide at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and businesses with 100 employees or more will provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year.
- Creates new prevailing wage requirements applicable to private construction projects when public funds are covering at least 30 percent of overall construction costs and such costs exceed $5 million.
- Enacts bail reforms to laws passed in 2019, adding bail eligible offenses and increasing discovery timelines.
- Enacts structural changes to reduce billions in spending on the state’s growing Medicaid program.
- Bans the sale of flavored e-cigarettes or vapor products.
- Authorizes the creation of a $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act to fund the environmental restoration and climate mitigation projects, pending future assessment of state finances.
- Codifies a state ban on hydrofracking.
- Accelerates renewable energy project siting and permitting processes.
- Bans the distribution and use of Styrofoam by 2022.
- Legalizes the use of e-bikes and e-scooters.
- Legalizes gestational surrogacy in New York.