LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Legislative Session Winds Down, Campaign Season Heats Up

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Legislative Session Winds Down, Campaign Season Heats Up
HGAR Government Affairs Director Michael Neppl

The New York State Legislature gaveled out in the early hours of June 4th, marking the end of Kathy Hochul’s first session as governor and the beginning of what promises to be a chaotic election season courtesy of court-imposed electoral maps that will upend the political landscape in New York and beyond.

Obfuscated by the end-of-session legislative flurry that was understandably centered on public health and safety measures was another silent death for “Good Cause Eviction” and the expiration of the 421-a affordable housing tax break—at least until January, when a new legislature figures to take another swing. For now, sensible housing advocates will take a .500 batting average into the offseason.

Despite this success, we are certainly disappointed that another year passes without establishing transparency in the cooperative housing purchase process, or without any credible effort to address affordable housing development. This is particularly frustrating because there is active legislation that attacks housing inequity in the co-op market: Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, sponsored two such bills that died in committee. We know that homeownership is key to building intergenerational wealth, and know too well the long history of discrimination and segregation in cooperative housing. Continued inaction is purely political, and continues a legacy of public policy in housing that exacerbates disparate outcomes.

New Yorkers deserve better, and we should demand better. For too many, the pathway to homeownership is complicated by economic and historical barriers, including overlapping layers of taxes, closing costs and fees that prevent access to the residential real estate market. In 2023, HGAR will continue to strongly support legislation designed to dismantle barriers to homeownership, particularly among historically disadvantaged communities:

• HGAR supports enacting a first-time homebuyer savings account program to assist New Yorkers saving for their first home.

• HGAR supports affordable workforce housing development through tax incentives and smart zoning policies to accelerate conversion of commercial spaces into residential housing.

• HGAR supports direct state funding for universal broadband Internet access and

• HGAR supports expanding state-level student debt forgiveness programs to address onerous debt burdens that negatively impact potential homebuyers’ ability to save for a down payment or to qualify for a home loan.

On point of personal privilege, I want to add a quick note of thanks for the warm welcome I have received from the HGAR Board of Directors, Legislative and RPAC committees, and the incredibly talented staff and leadership team at HGAR. I look forward to our continued efforts to organize, build political power, and advance housing policy that will secure a prosperous future for all New Yorkers.

Michael Neppl

Legislative Affairs columnist Michael Neppl is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

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