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May 2018 Government Affairs Update Archive

Government Affairs Update for May 25, 2018

Feds warn New York, other states about tax deduction workarounds
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service plan to propose regulations addressing the federal income tax treatment and characterization of certain payments that give taxpayers a credit against their state and local taxes, which could make it difficult for New York taxpayers to legally utilize the charitable tax deduction workaround. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in April that would let school districts set up charitable trusts that homeowners could donate to in order to work around the new federal $10,000 cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes. Read more here.

Senator Schumer calls on Congress to extend, reform flood program
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was on Long Island on Monday, May 21, urging Congress to extend the deadline for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is due to expire on July 31. Schumer said that improvements to the program should include fair and stable insurance costs for homeowners and more accurate flood maps. NAR estimates that any lapse in the program may result in the delay or cancellation of more than 9,000 home sale closings per week nationwide. Read more here

Barbara Underwood voted in as new Attorney General
A joint legislative session of the State Assembly and Senate voted on Tuesday to select the state’s Solicitor General Barbara Underwood to carry out the remainder of the term of Attorney General, replacing Eric Schneiderman. Candidates for Attorney General will be on the ballot this November. Underwood said she will not run for the office. Read more on the candidates running here.

State Democratic and Republican parties hold conventions
The Republican and Democratic parties designate their candidates for statewide offices this week. Any qualified voter registered with a party and residing in the state, however, can still collect 15,000 petitions to get on the ballot for the September primaries if they are not chosen. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Democrat), who is being challenged by Cynthia Nixon, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (Republican) received their respective party designations. Democrats also designated New York City Public Advocate Letitia James as their candidate for Attorney General, who will face Republican candidate Keith Wofford, New York City attorney. Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli is set to run against Republican candidate Jonathan Trichter for state Comtroller. Read more here.
 
Appraisal management company legislation introduced
New state legislation (A.10831) that would regulate appraisal management companies (AMCs) was introduced on Tuesday by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. NYSAR is supportive of this effort and has been working with lawmakers and state departments to enact the new measures. Existing federal regulations require appraisal management companies to be subject to state licensing requirements. These companies will be barred by federal regulation from providing appraisal management services for federally-related transactions in New York if the state does not act to create this new license by August 2018.

Greater Capital Association of REALTORS launches Call for Action
The Greater Capital Association of REALTORS (GCAR) launched a Call for Action to their Albany County members urging them to take action against a county legislature effort to mandate the installation of fire sprinklers in all new one and two-family residential construction in Albany County. This county effort mirrors a statewide effort from 2015 to adopt new state building codes that would have had the same requirement. That effort was defeated before the state Fire Prevention and Building Code Council, however is expected to be readdressed over the next year. NYSAR will continue to monitor the issue and oppose sprinkler mandate proposals at the state and local level.
 

Government Affairs Update for May 18, 2018

Cuomo administration floats new business tax in response to federal overhaul
The New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance released draft legislation that would create an unincorporated business tax — another plank in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's response to new federal limits on the deductibility of state and local taxes. The proposed legislation would have partnerships — which currently pass through earnings to their partners to be taxed as income — pay a flat 5-percent tax on their profits. Partners would get a credit on 93 percent of this new UBT against their income. Ken Pokalsky, a vice president at the Business Council of New York State, said the new tax could be written off as a federal business expense by the partners. Read more here.

State Legislature interviews candidates to fill Attorney General office
A bipartisan legislative screening panel headed by the Assembly’s Democratic Majority interviewed 11 potential candidates to serve the remaining term of Attorney General after Eric Schneiderman’s resignation last week. Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood is among the favorites to fill the office. Candidates thinking about running in November for the office have agreed to withdraw from the interview process. Read more here.

Governor Cuomo’s ‘Source of Income’ bill introduced by Assemblyman Weprin
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in April that he was working to advance legislation to outlaw housing discrimination based on the lawful source of a person's income. Assemblyman David Weprin of Queens has introduced that legislation as a governor’s program bill (A.10610) in the Assembly. The bill does not currently have a Senate sponsor. NYSAR has multiple concerns with this legislation, and will be raising those issues where appropriate.

U.S. Senate votes to block the repeal of net neutrality
The U.S. Senate voted 52 to 47 to reverse the Federal Communications Commission action to repeal net neutrality regulations, which are set to take effect on June 11, 2018. REALTORS opposed the FCC rollback, saying the changes to net neutrality could create an unlevel playing field for small business owners. It’s unknown whether the House of Representatives would advance the Senate bill, however. Read more here.
 
NY REALTORS meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill
New York REALTORS met with Congress members and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during the annual REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo to discuss this year’s legislative priorities including flood insurance, mortgage debt forgiveness and equal access to housing. Visit NYSAR’s Facebook page to view more and stay up-to-date.

Government Affairs Update for May 11, 2018

NYS Department of State drafts Appraisal Management Companies bill
The New York State Department of State (DOS) revised its Appraisal Management Company bill, which is expected to be introduced in the Legislature next week. Passage of this bill is necessary for New York State to comply with an August 2018 federal deadline. NYSAR has been working with the DOS and state Legislature to draft the bill, and is urging its passage before state lawmakers leave for the year on June 20.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigns from office
Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned from office on Monday night after being accused of assault by four women. The state Legislature will hold public hearings next week for attorney general candidates to replace Schneiderman in the interim. Voters will have the opportunity to elect a full-term attorney general in the November general election. The state Assembly Democrats make up more than 100 members in the state Legislature, and will likely have the most influence in the selection process of the new attorney general. Learn more.

Governor Cuomo’s ‘Source of Income’ bill introduced by Assemblyman Weprin
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in April that he was working to advance legislation to outlaw housing discrimination based on the lawful source of a person's income. Assemblyman David Weprin of Queens has introduced that legislation as a governor’s program bill (A.10610) in the Assembly. The bill does not currently have a Senate sponsor. NYSAR has multiple concerns with this legislation, and will be raising those issues where appropriate.

NYC Council approves fire prevention bills
The New York City Council approved a package of legislation on Wednesday aimed at increasing fire prevention and safety. The bills are before Mayor Bill de Blasio for his signature. Some of the new measures include requiring residential buildings to post notices about the importance of closing doors when there is a fire, requiring all landlords to provide protective stove knob covers in units where children under the age of 6 reside, and requiring that all residential dwellings install self-closing doors by 2021. Read more here.
 
Advocacy materials for the May 2018 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
The 2018 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo represents an important opportunity for REALTORS to meet with their U.S. Senators and Representatives and communicate the issues critical to their businesses, communities and the consumers they represent. To help prepare members for their upcoming meetings in May, NAR has prepared talking points and a series of four videos that explain the messages that NAR would like presented to their members of Congress. Additionally, NAR will hold a virtual town hall on May 10 at 2 p.m. to address any questions REALTORS may have about the talking points. Read more here.

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. 

Town of Ithaca publishes guidelines on new rental registry requirement
Property owners in the Town of Ithaca who rent their dwelling units, whether it is a two unit rental (principal building with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)) or a single family dwelling unit, should be sure to contact the town and fill out an operating permit before January 1, 2019 to register the rental with the town. This can be done online at here. The Ithaca Board of REALTORS has more information here.

Government Affairs Update for May 4, 2018

Advocacy materials for the May 2018 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
The 2018 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo represents an important opportunity for REALTORS to communicate with their U.S. Senators and Representatives about the issues critical to their businesses, communities and the consumers they represent. NAR has prepared talking points and a series of four videos that explain the messages that NAR would like presented to members of Congress. Additionally, NAR will hold a virtual town hall on May 10, at 2 p.m. to address any questions REALTORS may have about the talking points. Read more here

Five Republican state Senators not seeking re-election
Republican state Senators Bill Larkin (39th Senate District-Hudson Valley) and Tom Croci (3rd Senate District-Long Island) announced they will not be seeking re-election this November. They join Republican Sens. John DeFrancisco, Kathy Marchione and John Bonacic in announcing plans in the last several days to retire at the end of the year.

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. 

NYC Council housing committee calls on Albany to pass rent reforms
The New York City Council’s housing and buildings committee passed a package of resolutions Wednesday calling on state lawmakers to reform rent laws that govern the city’s rent-stabilized apartments. Measures include vacancy decontrol reform and repealing the Urstadt law, which would restore the city’s power to approve local rent laws. The resolutions can be found here.

Federal Reserve does not raise interest rates but points to higher inflation
The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday, but acknowledged that inflation is beginning to creep higher. The central bank's Federal Open Market Committee held the funds rate at a target of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, however, noted that overall inflation moved close to 2 percent, which is a key indicator for continuing to push interest rates higher in the near future. Read more here.

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