Statement on New York State End of Session Agreement
New York, NY - The resolution (albeit short term for some) of several issues of great importance to New York - 421a, rent regulation, the property tax cap, and mayoral control of schools - is welcome news. Rent regulation and 421a remain imperfect and costly measures to address housing affordability, but the continuation of vacancy decontrol will allow for the gradual end to regulations that constrict supply and negatively impact the broader rental market.
The agreement is also commendable for what it avoids. Misguided proposals to provide tax breaks to private school benefactors and to roll back sensible reforms to pension benefits for New York City's uniformed workforce were omitted.
However, the last minute addition of large spending commitments is fiscally troubling. A new property tax rebate program will cost an estimated $1.3 billion annually and aid to nonpublic schools will increase by $250 million. Any suggestion that these additions will be funded with projected "surpluses" is premature. Achieving future surpluses depends on continued economic growth and limitations in overall state spending, neither of which is guaranteed.
Finally, the Governor and the Legislature once again circumvented a rule requiring the introduction of bills three days prior to voting, providing little time for public scrutiny of the complex agreement. Legislators and the general public should be afforded time to read legislation of such importance before its adoption.