April 2018 Government Affairs Update Archive

Government Affairs Update for April 27, 2018

State Senate and Assembly special election results
Democrats Shelley Mayer (37th SD-Westchester) and Luis Sepulveda (32nd SD-Bronx) won in special elections for New York State Senate on April 24, giving Democrats a statistical majority. However, Republicans currently maintain leadership control as long as Democratic Senator Simcha Felder continues to caucus with them. Nine open state Assembly seats were also filled in special elections. Democrats won four out of the nine, with one seat changing party. The 10th Assembly District in Suffolk County flipped to being Democratic after it was vacated by Republican Chad Lupinacci. Democrats in the Assembly now hold a 107 to 42 super majority. Read full special election results here.

Cuomo introduces source of income bill
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he is advancing a bill to outlaw housing discrimination based on the lawful source of a person's income. He also announced the filing of two complaints by the New York State Division of Human Rights against housing providers in Queens, alleging that they discriminated against tenants based on their sex, familial status, and national origin. Read the governor’s press release here.

Albany County Legislature proposes residential fire sprinkler legislation
The Albany County Legislature has proposed Local Law “I” to require the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems in all newly constructed one- and two-family residential homes in Albany County. A public hearing is expected to be announced on this proposal. NYSAR and the Greater Capital Association of REALTORS are monitoring the issue and may be issuing a local Call for Action to REALTORS in the area via email and social media. Read the proposal (Local Law “I”) here.

State elected officials not seeking re-election
Republican State Senators Kathy Marchione (43rd SD-Rensselaer), Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (50th SD-Central NY), and Judiciary Chair John Bonacic (42nd SD-Hudson Valley) announced they would not seek re-election this November. DeFrancisco also recently suspended his gubernatorial campaign, as Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro appears to have secured the Republican nomination. Democratic State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (48th AD-Brooklyn) also announced he will not seek re-election.

De Blasio releases his NYC executive budget proposal
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released his $89 billion proposed budget on April 26, which includes about $2 billion in new spending and largely blames Albany spending cuts and new mandates for the city’s budgetary hardships. The mayor did not include the New York City Council’s proposal for a $400 property tax rebate for homeowners earning below $150,000 a year. De Blasio said he supports the formation of a commission to fix property tax inequities. De Blasio’s full Executive Budget can be read here. The deadline for an on-time city budget is July 1, as budget negotiations get under way between offices of the mayor and the City Council speaker.

Receive your Calls for Action via text message!
Text the word “NYREALTOR” to 30644 to sign up for REALTOR Party text message alerts. It takes less than a minute and will only notify you a few times a year when there is an important REALTOR issue to take action on. 

HUD proposes federal rent increases for low-income households
HUD Secretary Ben Carson unveiled a major overhaul of the rental-housing system on Wednesday, proposing to increase the share of rent that low-income households must pay before receiving federal assistance and allow public housing authorities to impose work requirements. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed his opposition to the proposal, which would require Congressional approval. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for April 20, 2018

Live webcast with NAR’s Jerry Giovaniello on upcoming D.C. meetings: May 10 at 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, May 10, at 2 p.m. the NAR Government Affairs team will be hosting a live webinar when NAR Senior Vice President Jerry Giovaniello and the lobbying team will highlight the issues REALTORS will present on Capitol Hill, and be available to answer questions from the audience. Watch for your formal invitation with registration details on April 26. Please plan to participate and ask questions.

NYSAR meets with Assembly housing chair on coop transparency bill
NYSAR staff met with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Committee on Housing, and Assembly counsel staff to discuss the advancement of cooperative transparency legislation (A.10084/S.7523). The bill would improve transparency by establishing a clear timeline for the receipt, acknowledgement, completion and acceptance/denial of a cooperative purchase application. These efforts on the state level are in conjunction with similar efforts to introduce and advance legislation before the New York City Council. NYSAR will continue to update members on any progress.

Receive your Calls for Action via text message!
Text the word “NYREALTOR” to 30644 to sign up for REALTOR Party text message alerts. It takes less than a minute and will only notify you a few times a year when there is an important REALTOR issue to take action on. 

Vote Tuesday, April 24, if you are in a special election district
Two State Senate seats and nine state Assembly seats will be filled by upcoming special elections on Tuesday, April 24. There is a heightened focus on the state Senate races after the recent move by the Independent Democratic Conference to join the mainline Democrats, which could impact what party controls the Senate in the coming months. The Assembly Districts with a special election are the: 5th, 10th, 17th, 39th, 74th, 80th, 102nd, 107th, and 142nd Assembly districts. The Senate Districts with a special election are the 32nd and 37th Senate Districts. Read more on the races here. Check if you can vote in one of the special elections here.

Report finds rising costs for rent-stabilized landlords as housing advocates push for rent freeze
The Price Index of Operating Costs report is one of several surveys the Rent Guidelines Board takes into account before its final vote in June on whether to allow landlords of rent-stabilized housing to increase rent. According to the report, fuel costs and real estate taxes saw the largest increases. The board will discuss the findings of the price index and hear testimony from apartment owners and tenants in advance of its preliminary vote on April 26. Read the full report here. A final vote is expected in June.

Government Affairs Update for April 12, 2018

Moody’s report: SALT cap impact on home values and local governments
A report released Wednesday by Moody’s found the $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions will impact local governments, especially those in the New York City metropolitan region. The firm found growth in property tax revenue will be pressured and result in a damper on the increase in home values. Recent changes passed in the state budget creating workarounds on the SALT deduction cap could provide some relief, however, the federal government has yet to announce whether it will allow such vehicles. Learn more.

Residential fire sprinkler push after Trump Tower fire
The New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Robert Cornegy announced that he will introduce a bill to require the installation of residential fire sprinklers at all residential buildings with four or more apartments. The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs also announced it will increase its efforts to support local and state regulations to require all new homes to include fire sprinkler systems. The State Code Council excluded a requirement that would have mandated the installation of fire sprinkler systems in all new one and two-family homes in 2015.

Who’s on the ballot in the April 24 state special elections?
Two State Senate seats and nine State Assembly seats will be filled by upcoming special elections on Tuesday, April 24. There is a heightened focus on the State Senate races after the recent move by the Independent Democratic Conference to join the mainline Democrats, which could impact what party controls the Senate in the coming months. Read more on all the races here.

House Speaker Paul Ryan announces resignation
GOP Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in November, and plans to let his term expire at the end of this year. It’s yet to be seen if a new speaker will be elected by House Republicans before the end of this year. Learn more.

Trichter announces run against State Comptroller DiNapoli
Jonathan Trichter, who helped run Harry Wilson’s 2010 campaign for state comptroller, has formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to challenge Comptroller Tom DiNapoli later this year. Trichter is the first person to say he is seeking the GOP nomination. He would need a special Wilson Pakula authorization from the party in order to run on its line. Learn more.

Government Affairs Update for April 6, 2018

NY enacts $168 billion budget, rejects real estate transfer tax increases
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature finalized a $168.3 billion on-time state budget last week. The budget closes a $4.5 billion deficit and excludes roughly $1 billion in new taxes and fees proposed by the governor and state Assembly. NYSAR was pleased to see the exclusion of two real estate transfer tax increases from the final budget, which were originally proposed in the Assembly one-house budget. The final budget includes provisions to decouple state tax law from federal revenue code, create a new optional payroll tax program that employers would enroll into, and allow for the creation of tax deductible state and local charitable contribution funds, which has municipalities looking for IRS guidance and questioning how to implement such funds. Also included in the final budget are new fees imposed on ride-hail services in parts of Manhattan, funding for the New York City Housing Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and additional funding for flood recovery efforts along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline. Summary highlights can be found below. The governor’s release can be found here.

New York State tax reform
• New York is decoupling provisions in its state tax law from the federal revenue code to avoid increased state personal income tax liability on individual taxpayers, avoiding an estimated $1.5 billion increase in state tax liability.

• A new “Employer Compensation Expense Program,” or payroll tax, allows employers to annually opt into a program whereby they pay a federally deductible 5-percent tax on payroll expenses more than $40,000 per employee, while the employees receive a tax credit that offsets their personal income tax liability. 

• The budget also allows for the creation of state and local-level charitable contribution funds accompanied by state income and local property tax credits; however the deductibility of these “contributions” will be subject to IRS determination.

New York City
• The budget appropriates $250 million for the NYCHA and grants it design-build authority, but creates an independent monitor chosen by the New York City Council and NYCHA tenants who will work with the New York City comptroller.

• Imposes a new $2.75 per trip fee on New York City for-hire vehicles to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The new fee is imposed on ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft as well as traditional black cars and liveries in Manhattan south of 96th Street. A $2.50 fee would apply to yellow taxi trips in the same area.

• Funds the $836 million MTA Subway Action Plan, compelling New York City to cover half the cost ($418 million) for repairs and upgrades.

Flood recovery
• Includes an additional $40 million, bringing the total commitment to $95 million, to continue flood relief and recovery efforts along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline. Impacted counties include Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, St. Lawrence, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego.

• Extends the state’s Historic Tax Credit program through 2024, rejects deferred payments and decouples the state program from new federal rules that spread payments out over five years instead of one.

• Continues funding for the Regional Economic Development Councils for an eighth round of REDC awards totaling $750 million, and provides $100 million for the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Program.

• Continues county-wide shared services panels for another three years to spur municipal service consolidation and includes $225 million in state funds to match any local level savings.

• State spending on education increased by $1 billion this year, totaling $26.7 billion.

• New $100 million per year tax on manufacturers and distributors of opioids

• Creates a new pay raise commission that will have the power to increase salaries for state legislators and executive branch employees.

IDC reunifies with mainline Democrats in state Senate
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jeff Klein announced the two Democratic factions (Independent Democratic Conference and mainline Democrats) in the state Senate will reunite as a single conference. The new Democratic conference will be led by Stewart-Cousins with Klein as deputy, bringing the conference tally to 29 members. Democratic Senator Simcha Felder currently caucuses with the Republicans, allowing them to maintain a majority. Democrats in the Senate could pick up two more seats as a result of the April 24 special election. However, Felder would have to flip caucuses in order for Democrats to regain a majority. Read more here.

Mayor Bill de Blasio extends rent stabilization laws to 2021 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that affirms New York City remains in a housing emergency and extends rent regulation laws for three years, through April 1, 2021. The City law is based on the 2017 Housing and Vacancy Survey, which shows a 3.63-percent vacancy rate. Read more here.
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