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 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.