By Sabina Mollot
On Sunday night, when the New York State budget was passed by the Senate, landlords won an extension of the 421 tax break for new developments while tenants lost some leverage in the ongoing effort to renew and strengthen the rent laws.
The combined budget bills had totaled nearly 2,000 pages, as noted by State Senator Brad Hoylman last week. He’d voted no as a protest to being expected to review a Bible-sized stack in a matter of hours.
However, with the voting now over in the Senate as well as the Assembly, Hoylman gave Town & Village a recap.
The 421a tax break for developers, which was included in the budget, will no longer sunset at the same time as the rent negotiations. The timeline had previously been seen by tenants as an opportunity to bargain for stronger rent laws.
“The fact that the 421a real estate tax exemption was negotiated behind closed doors is scandalous,” said Hoylman, “but what is also extremely scandalous is that it was not linked to renewal of the rent laws. Albany made a colossal mistake in de-coupling the renewal of 421a with rent laws. That was a major leverage point.”
Additionally, ethics reforms, including the closure of the LLC Loophole (which allows donors to give nearly limitless campaign cash to politicians through LLCs), were not included.
“There was no mention of ethics reform in any part of the budget,” said Hoylman, “which is extremely disappointing. Not an iota. They blocked the LLC Loophole (closure), they blocked measures to limit outside income. Once again the Senate majority refused to take action. The budget process itself was dysfunctional.”