From Bad to Worse

New York State could ill afford the loss of jobs and tax revenues from blowing the Amazon deal, and the damage from proposed changes to the rent laws will be even worse, CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin explained in a column Thursday on City and State.
 
State Senator Michael Gianaris, the chief culprit in killing Amazon’s plans, turned his attention to killing the real estate industry altogether this week. Last year he proposed having government give owners a tax credit for some Major Capital Improvement costs instead of billing tenants. Now he just wants to eliminate MCIs going forward and roll back any increases taken in the past seven years.
 
Rent control fever is infecting the country. The Oregon State Legislature gave final approval to a bill imposing statewide renewal rent caps of 7% plus inflation (about 10% total this year) and limiting the ability to evict tenants or refuse to renew leases. The Governor has indicated that she will sign the bill this week. Interestingly, according to Rent Guidelines Board reports, New York’s renewal increases, luxury decontrols, MCIs, and other lawful increases combined haven’t topped 7% in any year since at least 1990.
 
Property owners who buy fuel or electricity from Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) could take a hit if Governor Cuomo’s plan to eliminate the current sales tax exemption on these power purchases is approved. His State Budget proposal anticipates  $128 million in revenue from the move, unless ratepayers mobilize enough opposition.  Click to add your voice.
 
The Village of Ossining took a half step back, Monday, from their imposition of Rent Stabilization last September. The Village Board approved a new exemption (see item E) for buildings of 20 units or less, and allowed larger buildings to opt-out by accepting a perpetual affordable housing requirement on 20% of their units—although it is not clear why anyone would do so without tax breaks or other offsets.
 
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the City’s statistics on evictions don’t add up. A New York Post investigation this week confirmed that the Mayor and Council can’t explain where their numbers came from.
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