February 2019

Government Affairs Update for February 23, 2019

NYSAR 2019 Legislative Priorities
NYSAR’s Legislative Steering Committee and Board of Directors approved the 2019 Legislative Priorities during the Mid-Winter Business Meetings last week in Albany. NYSAR will continue its support for a permanent property tax cap, a first-time home buyer savings account, additional core continuing education requirements, elimination of “grandfathering,” and coop housing transparency, among other measures. NYSAR will oppose any real estate tax increases, expansion of cease of desist zones, and other measures that restrict real estate licensees from conducting their business. Read NYSAR’s Legislative Priorities here.

Gov. Cuomo releases 30-Day amendments to Executive Budget proposal
On February 15, Governor Cuomo released amendments to his FY 2020 Executive Budget proposal. The most significant revision is a $3.8 billion downward re-estimate in personal income tax collections by the state over the next two years. In order to fill the gap, the governor’s plan calls for the closure of three prisons, a reduction in certain health care payments and Medicaid reimbursements, and implement an internet sales tax starting June 1, 2019, among other measures. Read more here. All 30-day budget amendments can be found here.

NYC Council proposes bill to cap residential broker fees
New York City Council member Keith Powers of Manhattan introduced a bill that would cap fees New York City brokers could charge when helping renters lease an apartment to one month’s rent. NYSAR opposes this legislation and is working with its New York City lobbyists at the Parkside Group to engage city lawmakers on the issue. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for February 16, 2019

REALTORS raise a record $33,000 at the RPAC VIP Lounge
Once again the RPAC Lounge held at the Desmond as part of NYSAR’s business meetings was a success for RPAC. The 1-day event raised a record $33,000 and featured manicures, massages, psychic readings, character artist, delicious food, beverages and more. Thank you to the near 130 attendees for investing in RPAC and making this lounge a hit. Congratulations to all the silent auction winners!

RPAC of New York Inducts Hall of Famers
Congratulations to the following NYSAR members on their induction into the RPAC of New York Hall of Fame in recognition of their generous $15,000 total lifetime investments in RPAC:
Michael Coughlin, Clinton County
Dan Davies, Southern Adirondack
CJ DelVecchio, Ithaca
Lin Fields, Jefferson Lewis
Debbie Gilson, St. Lawrence
Nicholas Gomez, Long Island
Dave Legaz, Long Island
Frank Reali, Staten Island
Charlotte Vanderwaag, Long Island
Jennifer Vucetic, Greater Capital

Dawn Carpenter receives the Lawrence B. Caldwell RPAC Service Award

Dawn Carpenter of the Staten Island Board was presented the prestigious Lawrence B. Caldwell RPAC Service Award, the highest honor presented by the REALTORS® Political Action Committee of New York, during the NYSAR Mid-Winter Business Meetings last week. Dawn has been an RPAC Major Investor for 13 consecutive years and has invested over $44,000 in her lifetime. Dawn is a member of the RPAC of NY Hall of Fame & the NAR RPAC Hall of Fame and she continues to invest and advocate on behalf of RPAC.  NYSAR’s 57,000+ members thank Dawn for her commitment and dedication in support of RPAC.

Government Affairs Update for February 9, 2019

State faces unexpected $2.3 billion shortfall
New York state is facing an unexpected $2.3 billion projected shortfall in revenues for the remainder of this fiscal year ending March 31. This is the most significant shortfall in eight years, primarily due to a sharp drop in income tax collections for December and January. Governor Cuomo attributed this to the recent federal cap in SALT deductions. This shortfall will likely have a significant impact on tax and spending plans in a final budget which is due April 1, 2019. Read more here. Similar unexpected declines in income tax revenue also appeared in New York City budget office projections.

Gov. Cuomo proposes rent reforms in his budget proposal
Governor Andrew Cuomo included in his 2020 Executive Budget proposal three housing reform measures which include legislation to prohibit discrimination against tenants based on source of income, limiting security deposits to a maximum of one-month’s rent across the state, and preventing potential tenants with poor credit from being automatically turned away by operators of state-funded housing. Read more here.

Legislature holds budget hearing on housing issues
On February 4, NYSAR staff attended the State Senate and Assembly joint legislative public hearing on the 2019-2020 Executive Budget proposal on housing. Discussions primarily revolved around New York City housing funding and new rent regulation proposals. Ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee Senator James Seward (R-Oneonta) encouraged the NYS Homes and Community Renewal to complete its study of the NYSAR-supported NY first-time home buyer savings account program. Gov. Cuomo directed the agency in December 2018 to study the feasibility of enacting the program.

Government Affairs Update for February 2, 2019

State Senator Brad Hoylman to sponsor continuing education bills
State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman will be introducing bills at NYSAR’s request that would provide for additional continuing education requirements for real estate licensees. One measure would expand core CE hour requirements to include 2.5 hours pertaining to ethical business practices and 1 hour of legal updates. This would be in addition to the current 3 core hours of fair housing and 1 core hour of Agency Law education. The other measure would remove the “grandfathering” clause for real estate brokers, eliminating the continuing education requirements exemption for brokers licensed prior to July 1, 2008. NYSAR staff was directed by its Legislative Steering Committee in September 2018 to seek passage of these measures.

USDA loans being processed again after government shutdown
As of Monday, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Guaranteed Loans were starting to be processed again after being on hold due to the federal government shutdown. According to the USDA, there were 3,236 outstanding Conditional Commitment requests, meaning USDA approval is required before loan closing. USDA has temporarily set-up a team dedicated solely to processing rural development loans. They expect to get through the backlog in the next few weeks. If your client has an immediate closing deadline coming up, or missed closing and needs to close, please let NAR know. NAR will alert USDA staff so that they can address those immediate need situations first. NAR Contacts: Megan Booth at [email protected]; Sehar Siddiqi at [email protected]

State to hold hearing Feb. 11 on Con Edison natural gas moratorium in Westchester
The state Public Service Commission announced it will hold a public hearing on Feb. 11 at a location yet to be determined in Westchester County to address Con Edison’s plan to stop taking applications for natural gas connections from new costumers beginning March 15, 2019 due to limits in supply and growing demand. State and local officials have voiced concern on the impact this will have on commercial and residential development in the area. Read more here.

Attend NYSAR Lobby Day – Tuesday May 7, 2019
All REALTORS are welcome to attend NYSAR’s Annual Lobby Day in Albany on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Lobby Day provides members the opportunity to meet one-on-one with state lawmakers to discuss REALTOR issues. NYSAR will provide breakfast and lunch as well as reimburse members for some travel and hotel expenses. For more information or to register, email [email protected].