January 2019

Government Affairs Update for January 25, 2019

State Senate passes bill to make property tax cap permanent
On Wednesday, the State Senate passed legislation (S.1904) sponsored by Senator James Gaughran (D-Long Island) to make the state property tax cap permanent in a 58-2 vote. According to the state, the property tax cap, which was signed into law in 2011 by Governor Cuomo, has saved New York taxpayers approximately $25 billion. NSYAR was supportive of the campaign to enact the tax cap and supports legislation to make it permanent. The State Assembly has said it will review the measure. Read more here.

State Legislature considering expanding rent regulations in Upstate NY
State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster) have said they are looking to propose statewide rent regulations expanding the 1974 Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA), which enabled qualifying municipalities in Westchester, Rockland and Nassau counties to opt-in to New York City’s rent stabilization laws. Read more here.

Treasury, IRS Give Big Win to Real Estate Professionals in Qualified Business Income Rule
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations that will allow real estate professionals to benefit from the Section 199A 20 percent pass-through deduction. The regulation clarifies that all real estate agents and brokers who are not employees but operate as sole proprietors or owners of partnerships, S corporations or limited liability companies are eligible for the new deduction and includes those whose income exceeds the threshold of $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for those filing a joint return. Read more here.

Governor Cuomo signs election reform bills
On Thursday, Governor Cuomo signed into law new election reform measures that consolidate the federal and state primary elections to be held in June starting next year, establish an eight-day early voting period before election days beginning this year, allow 16 and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote, allow voter registration to be transferred when an individual moves to a different county, and limit and disclose LLC campaign contributions. Read more here.

Con Edison issues natural gas moratorium on new customers in Westchester
Con Edison will not be accepting applications for natural gas connections from new costumers in most of Westchester County 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.

Government Affairs Update for January 18, 2019

Governor Cuomo Delivers 2019 State of the State Address and Executive Budget proposal
On Tuesday, January 15, entering his third-term, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2019 State of the State Address while rolling in his Executive Budget proposal which outlined a $175 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. Within that spending plan, the governor highlighted a number of fiscal and policy initiatives, including making the 2 percent property tax cap permanent, fighting the federal cap on SALT deductions, lowering state income tax rates on middle-class earners, prohibiting housing discrimination based on legal source of income, enacting stronger tenant protections and eliminating vacancy decontrol, to name a few. A broader summary can be found here. NYSAR staff will be reviewing the governor’s proposals as the administration continues to release more details and specific budget legislation. The State Senate and Assembly will also be releasing their respective spending plans in the coming weeks. The 2019-2020 Executive Budget Briefing Book can be found here.

NAR releases 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda
The National Association of REALTORS is the largest professional trade association in the country. In 2019, NAR’s federal advocacy agenda will focus on monitoring how federal taxes and real estate continue to be affected by tax reform changes, long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with meaningful reforms, clarifying federal regulations that expand access to Association Health Plans, preserving federal mortgage finance programs, enhancing the flow of capital to commercial real estate, and protecting Fair Housing. Read the full agenda here.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announces 2020 presidential bid
Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Tuesday that she is running for the Democratic nomination for president and officially forming an exploratory committee. She made the announcement on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and later in front of a diner in Troy, NY. Sen. Gillibrand served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives and was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for January 11, 2019

State Legislature begins 2019 session
On January 9, the State Assembly and Senate convened to start the 2019 legislative session. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Yonkers) laid out the conference’s agenda, which included making the 2 percent property tax cap permanent. Last month, Governor Cuomo also stated that he would be pushing for a permanent tax cap in 2019. Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (Bronx) laid out a similar list of progressive priorities, including reproductive health initiatives, gun safety, affordable housing, tenant rights and passing the Dream Act and Child Victims Act.

Governor Cuomo announces date for State of the State address
Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver his State of the State address on Tuesday, January 15. He will likely combine the speech with his Executive Budget presentation and proposal. NYSAR will review and report on the governor’s budget when the legislation is released.

NYC Council addresses spike in store-sign violations
The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to institute a two-year moratorium on violations related to store signs and awnings after a mysterious spike in 311 complaints that led to costly penalties for small businesses. The bill, which Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign, would also create an interagency task force to study the issue, waive or return fines for some past violations, and require the city to provide education and training to help small businesses ensure their signs comply with the law. Read more here.

NYC Mayor de Blasio to announce new tenant protection office
Politico reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce the creation of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants during his State of the City address scheduled for January 10. The office will be tasked with coordinating city agencies and initiatives that work on tenant and landlord issues. The state legislature may also take up the issue of new state rent laws later in the year.

NYC vacancy tax proposal
New York City Mayor de Blasio said he will urge state lawmakers to approve legislation that would impose a vacancy tax penalizing landlords who keep storefronts vacant for extended periods. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for January 4, 2019

Governor Cuomo signs NYSAR-supported AMC legislation into law
Governor Cuomo recently signed into law NYSAR-supported legislation that will require the registration of Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs). The Governor signed Chapter 517 on December 28, 2018. The law will take effect in late April and authorizes the Department of State to issue certificates of registration to AMCs for a period of two years. The legislation was necessary due to changes in federal regulations requiring that states license and regulate AMCs for these companies to operate in the state. NYSAR would like to extend its gratitude to appraiser members Carol DiSanto, Rebecca Jones and Stephen Roefaro for their diligent efforts on helping to get this legislation passed and signed into law.

NAR helps secure FEMA Reversal on new flood policies during shutdown
Congress on Dec. 21 passed legislation that extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31, 2019. In an unexpected policy decision, FEMA on Dec. 26 said it couldn’t allow insurers to issue and renew federal policies while the partial government shutdown was ongoing. NAR, along with other organizations expressed concerns urging a reversal of that ruling. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reversed its ruling and will continue issuing and renewing flood insurance policies. Read more here.

Assembly Housing Committee holds hearing on NYS Homes and Community Renewal
NYSAR staff attended an Assembly Housing Committee public hearing on December 20, 2018 in Albany regarding oversight of the 2018-19 state budget for New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). The hearing focused on HCR’s affordable housing programs and funding. Several witnesses testified on various topics including expiring rent control laws, source of income legislation and public housing. For more information click here.

Judge issues injunction blocking enforcement of new Airbnb law in NYC
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against New York City’s new Airbnb law after a lawsuit argued that it would violate the privacy of hosts and constitute government overreach. The new Airbnb law, which passed over the summer and was supposed to go into effect this February, would require the company to make monthly disclosures of booking information, including host names and addresses. The regulations are stalled for the time being as the lawsuit moves forward. Read more here.