As the legislative session in Albany winds down, with the Legislature passing the budget on time for the first time in two decades and the City Council continuing with its business, now is a good time to take a look at some of the housing-related legislation our elected officials considered during the year.
The roughly $106 billion state budget includes provisions for nearly $1 billion in new taxes and fees, including increases in automobile title fees, sales tax surcharges and increased mortgage recording taxes on certain residents.
It is also important to look behind the scenes at some of the organizations representing different sectors of the housing world--co-op and condo owners, landlords, tenants and so on--and how they affect the legislative process.
In Albany, not all housing-related bills go through the Housing Committees in the Assembly and Senate, says Jonathan Harkavy, chief of staff for Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the state Assembly Committee on Housing. Co-op and condo-related legislation sometimes goes through the Judiciary Committees. At any rate, he says, "We don't get a lot of stuff related to condos and co-ops--as long as their boards are working fairly."