Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cuomo’s Ultimatum On Rent Regulations


By Andrew J. Hawkins
With the deadline just hours away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce today that unless the Legislature passes a bill extending and expanding the state’s current rent regulation law, no one will be going home, according to two sources with knowledge of the governor’s plans.

The governor’s announcement will come amid a flurry of end-of-session activity, with the Legislature scrambling to carve out deals on a host of pending issues, including same-sex marriage and a property tax cap.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has said he would support a simple extension of rent regulations that cover over one million New York City apartments, which officially expire today. Lawmakers from both parties are eager to wrap up this week’s business by Friday so they can avoid having to return to Albany next Monday, the official last day of session. So Cuomo’s announcement today comes at a critical time: extend and expand rent regulations or risk an extraordinary session.

A spokesman for Skelos did not return a request for comment. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto dismissed the report, saying he declined to comment on a rumor.

Cuomo has taken a strong stance on renewing the state’s rent laws, fully aware that his liberal Democratic base would retaliate were the laws allowed to expire.

At a press conference outside the Senate chambers Tuesday afternoon, Democrats blamed Senate Republicans for holding up the bill, claiming that Skelos’ offer to pass an extension of rent regulations was just a diversionary tactic.

“We don’t like those three bills you sent out,” said Sen. Adriano Espaillat, a Manhattan Democrat, referring to the Senate GOP. “It’s just an end-around to try to skip town without doing this. It’s just a simple extender that weakens tenant protections. So we’re not supporting that.”

Sen. Liz Krueger, also a Manhattan Democrat, said Cuomo gave assurances to rent law supporters in a meeting yesterday that he would do whatever it takes to extend and expand rent regulations.

“It is his priority,” Krueger said of Cuomo. “We were in a meeting where he said it and confirmed it.”
During his term, Gov. David Paterson called several extraordinary sessions to force the Legislature to act on key pieces of legislation. Democrats and rent law advocates have been calling on Cuomo to do the same thing. In a recent letter to Cuomo, Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat, urged Cuomo to force the Legislature to act on rent regulations, much like he used the threat of budget extenders to compel lawmakers to pass an on-time budget this year.

Asked whether he would support Cuomo calling for a special session to force action on rent regulations, Senate Minority Leader John Sampson said, “We’re not going home until we deal with rent regulations.”
Original Post here.