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Tenants and landlords can agree on this

2 months ago 38

With help from Shawn Ness

New from New York

Happening now:

  • The fight over good cause evictions.
  • Adams visits NAN.
  • A push to close the Medicaid gap.
  • A law to protect horses is taking effect. 


As a housing deal continues to hold up a finalization on the budget, Republicans are taking issue with the Good Cause eviction proposal, specifically how it relates to luxury property owners.

UNLIKELY FRIENDS: Negotiations over a state budget are struggling to get to the finish line as lawmakers, tenant activists, real estate interests and labor continue to hash out a blockbuster housing deal.

If anything’s holding up the budget, it’s housing, so it’s not often you see tenants and landlords in agreement — at least with one part of the potential package.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and leaders of both Houses agree the state needs more housing supply and some sort of measure that would increase protections for tenants.

Hochul has pushed for the revival of the 421-a tax break for developers. She has also indicated a willingness to accept some form of a “good cause” eviction proposal, which would effectively limit landlords’ ability to raise rents on tenants or discriminatorily evict renters.

But a recent proposal by the governor, as reported by POLITICO on Tuesday, would exempt landlords of pricier apartments from abiding by those “good cause” protections. Hochul has floated carving out studio apartments of around $3,500 per month or more and three-bedroom apartments rented at roughly $6,000 per month.

This is where some landlords and tenants share the same concern.

"The luxury exemption is a carve out for REBNY,” Cea Weaver, the coordinator for Housing Justice for All, a tenant advocacy group, said about the powerful real-estate group. “It's just another example of the governor basically pushing a policy that serves corporate real estate needs.”

Housing Justice for All has some unlikely friends on this point. Groups representing small property owners and landlords of more modestly-priced buildings are also against the carve outs — saying they create an uneven playing field.

“They think by excluding (luxury units) that that makes it acceptable, but what that means is good cause eviction will not be a burden for high-end luxury housing, but is going to be a burden for anybody that offers moderate or workforce housing,” said Ann Korchak, board president of Small Property Owners of New York.

The group and the Community Housing Improvement Program, an organization which represents small to medium-sized landlords, both strongly oppose the good cause piece. But in a world where good cause becomes law, the groups would join Weaver’s call to eliminate carve outs for luxury units.

Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, agrees: “I 100 percent think the current proposal only benefits ultra luxury, big, big billionaire developers,” he said. “They're proposing carve outs in good cause that specifically help these large luxury units.”

Martin said this organization has been more focused on changing rent stabilization laws. But if luxury units get carve outs, he said the group could try to press for a measure that would exempt majority rent-stabilized buildings from good cause.

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh, chair of the housing committee, said he hadn’t heard that some landlord groups were also opposed to the carve outs.

“All tenants deserve protections that permit them to continue to live in their home to not be pushed out for no reason,” he said. “If CHIP or small property owners or anybody else are arguing for a more expansive version of good cause than some other representatives of property owners, I certainly would welcome” that, he said. — Jason Beeferman

Gov. Kathy Hochul made some new appointments today.

DORM DAYS: Robert Rodriguez is taking over the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, Hochul announced today.

He takes over the new job on May 8 and will replace Reuben McDaniel, who departed the authority last fall.

Rodriguez, the state secretary of state, will become the acting president and chief executive officer of the authority, which provides public financing and construction authority for health and education infrastructure.

Rodriguez was previously appointed New York secretary of state by Hochul and served in the state Assembly for 11 years in East Harlem.

In another move, Sean Mahar, the current executive deputy commissioner at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, is stepping into the commissioner role on an interim basis, Hochul’s office said.Nick Reisman and Marie French

Mayor Eric Adams spoke at the National Action Network Convention alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

NAN, NY: “Many of our elected officials are here in the first row,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, kicking off his National Action Network Convention in Midtown Manhattan today. “Many of you that want to be elected to something, in the second.”

Assembly hopeful Jordan Wright, seated in the second row, got knowing looks, but folks in the first row were wannabes too. State Sens. Zellnor Myrie and Jessica Ramos and Borough presidents Mark Levine and Donovan Richards posed for a photo together, and they’re all in the potential-future-mayoral-candidates discussion.

Sharpton has long been considered an influential leader that ambitious politicians need to court. So Adams seemed to lord his close relationship with the reverend over the electeds.

“All of you in this room who are elected into office right now, you had to pass through NAN to get there,” Adams said in a speech from the stage.

“And if you passed through NAN to get there, you need to respect the actions of Reverend Sharpton, and you need to respect the actions of who was one of the first board members, and his name was Eric Adams. I approve of this message.”

Adams got a standing ovation as he stood on the stage alongside Sharpton and Hochul. — Jeff Coltin

Rep. Dan Goldman is among Democrats calling for the state Legislature to help increase funding to Medicaid in New York.

MEDICAID MOOLAH: A trio of congressional representatives urged Hochul today to use the state’s cash reserves and monthly cash balances to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals, echoing a policy proposal that is being pushed by the Greater New York Hospital Association and the health care union 1199SEIU but was denounced by fiscal watchdogs.

In a letter to the governor, Democratic Reps. Dan Goldman, Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velázquez decried “shocking disparities” in health care access and outcomes among Brooklyn residents — particularly low-income people of color who disproportionately rely on Medicaid for health insurance coverage — due to a widening gap between the state’s Medicaid rates and hospitals’ expenses.

The Greater New York Hospital Association claims that Medicaid pays hospitals, on average, 30 percent less for services than the cost to deliver them — a gap of about $6.8 billion. But GNYHA officials have repeatedly rebuffed POLITICO’s requests for the figures underpinning their calculations.

While Medicaid costs do exceed revenue at many New York hospitals, the shortfall varies greatly depending on the facility, according to a POLITICO analysis of 2021 data compiled by the Empire Center. NYC Health + Hospitals facilities and rural New York hospitals see the largest gaps, percentage-wise, with Medicaid paying as much as 90 percent less than the cost of care, the analysis shows.

The gaps are much narrower at hospitals in wealthy health systems. That’s because they typically see many more patients than the small community hospitals that suffer the brunt of the reimbursement-rate gap. Higher Medicaid payments would mean hundreds of millions of dollars more in revenue.

For that reason, budget watchdogs are urging state lawmakers to instead make more targeted investments for health care institutions that face urgent funding needs and dire budget deficits. — Maya Kaufman

ASSEMBLY BEGINS QUASHING GOP BILLS: Albany’s drawn-out budget season is now overlapping with another portion of the legislative calendar: the annual blocking of Republican measures in the Assembly.

GOP-sponsored bills of statewide significance have long been kept from receiving votes on the full floor. But Republicans can force committees to vote on a handful of bills each year in a window that ends on May 7, now only five regularly-scheduled session days away.

Democrats have begun the process of voting down these measures.

Nearly all of a lengthy Codes Committee meeting late Tuesday was filled with Republicans arguing for measures to overhaul bail reform, increase penalties for fentanyl charges and expand the list of hate crimes while Democrats beat them back.

“We’ve already amended the bail law a few times,” Chair Jeff Dinowitz, a Bronx Democrat, said when rejecting a proposal to amend it again.

None of the measures has a chance of passing the Democratic-dominated Legislature, but the debate provides Republicans with a rare opportunity to get the majority on the record on certain issues and attack them for their votes.

“Albany Democrats won’t even look in the direction of legislation that makes people safer, puts guardrails on the migrant crisis or supports the men and women of law enforcement,” Minority Leader Will Barclay said after the bills were voted down. — Bill Mahoney

ANIMAL RIGHTS LAW: A law takes effect Thursday that will prohibit the slaughter of horses for human and animal consumption in New York, which will be among the most stringent horse anti-slaughter laws in the nation, supporters and lawmakers said.

The law, signed by Hochul, comes after years of protests by animal-rights groups about abuse of horses at racetracks and the need for stronger penalties for the pipeline of transporting horses for the intent of slaughter through New York to Canada, in particular. In some cases, horses are shipped to other states and then to Mexico.

“Although it is now illegal to participate in the slaughter of any type of horse, it is imperative that law enforcement agencies apply the prohibition on buying, selling, and transporting horses that will be killed for their meat,” Assemblymember Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat and a bill sponsor, said in a statement. — Shawn Ness

ABORTION CASE: Nuns and dioceses, churches and other faith-based organizations all sued New York over its mandate that religious institutions cover abortions under their employee insurance plans. Now, they will appear before the state’s highest court next week to make their case.

The coalition said it will argue before the state Court of Appeals that the mandate violates their First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

They blame an increase in pressure on the Department of Financial Services to implement the change from abortion-rights activists. A decision is expected later this year. — Shawn Ness 

New York is eyeing a crackdown on illicit weed shops. But will it work? (POLITICO Pro)

— Allen Weisselberg, a former executive for Donald Trump, has received five months jail time for lying in Trump’s New York civil fraud case. (POLITICO)

— A record 45,000 people went to Niagara Falls state park to watch Monday’s eclipse. (Buffalo News)

The search is on for the next state DEC commissioner. (POLITICO Pro)

— Campaign records show Alison Esposito did not pay anyone that was working on her campaign to unset Rep. Pat Ryan for three months. (Times Union)

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