Thursday, June 18, 2015

R3's opposition to the LATEST State Senate bill


MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION 
June 17, 2015
 Senator Young 
Rules Committee 

AN ACT to amend the real property tax law, in relation to tax abatements for dwelling units occupied by certain persons residing in rent-controlled or rent regulated properties, and providing state aid to cities affected by such tax abatements; and to amend chapter 576 of the laws of 1974 amending the emergency housing rent control law relating to the control of and stabilization of rent in certain cases, in relation to extending the provisions thereof 

Beware of New York State Republicans bearing gifts.


Only two days after passing S5953, a one-house anti-tenant bill that does not pass the laugh test, and callously allowing the state rent and coop laws to expire in order to enhance the leverage they are exercising on behalf of landlords, the Senate Republicans are once again posturing with this bill, instead of engaging in serious negotiations with the Assembly and Governor.

On the surface, the heart of this bill would seem to be a benefit to rent-burdened tenants in rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartments, by freezing their rents if their rent consumes more than half their household incomes. But 50% of income is way above the 30% federal hardship level. And by failing to close all of the loopholes that cause rents to be driven up, this bill would ensure that more and more tenants would face unbearable rent burdens.

But without repealing Vacancy Deregulation and other loopholes in the current rent laws, this bill would in fact continue the steady phaseout of all rent-regulated housing in New York City and Nassau, Westchester and Rockland Counties. Therefore, it is impossible to consider the benevolence seemingly expressed in this bill as a serious effort, when the clear goal of the Senate Republicans is to help the real estate lobby end all rent and eviction protections in New York State.

Plus the stingy ten percent reimbursement by the state to localities seems to doom the measure to failure. As it is, many municipalities in the three ETPA counties have not opted into the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program and/or the Disability Rent Increase Exemption program, or they have enacted SCRIE and/or DRIE at lower income eligibility levels than the state authorizes, because they cannot afford the lost tax revenue.

The bill is also badly drafted in that it seeks to extend the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 for four years, until 2019, but does not renew state rent control, the New York City coop/condo conversion law, or the three-county coop/condo conversion law, all of which expired Monday night at midnight along with the ETPA.

The Real Rent Reform Campaign urges all fair-minded Senators to oppose this insincere legislation