Budget funds golf tournament, but not tenant protections

State Senator Brad Hoylman voted no on numerous parts of the budget that were ultimately passed. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In the latest “Big Ugly,” the state budget released on Saturday morning yanked $4.5 million from tenant protections by completely de-funding the housing agency’s Tenant Protection Unit.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, who voted no against that measure and numerous others included in the budget, blamed his own chamber for the move. However, he said he’s been assured the TPU will continue to be able to operate through emergency funding set aside by the governor, which was also done last year. Still, said Hoylman, “What kind of message does that send to New Yorkers? The budget is a real statement of our values.”

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled chamber saw fit to spend $3 million of taxpayer funds on an upstate golf tournament because, they said, it would create jobs and spur economic growth in the area.

In arguments that are now online on YouTube, Hoylman responded, “Four and half million dollars was cut from the budget. I’d like to see the Dick’s Sporting Goods money put into the Tenant Protection Unit.”

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Kavanagh rips State Senate effort to defund Tenant Protection Unit

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

By Sabina Mollot

The Assembly will be fighting back against a push from the State Senate to defund the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh said this week.

The TPU is a division of the state housing agency, Homes and Community Renewal, along with others like the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

And according to Kavanagh, the plan to strip the TPU of its funding was in the State Senate’s budget proposal.

However, the TPU, he noted, has been helpful to tenants in fighting landlords who’ve improperly deregulated properties by getting the units reregulated and getting back rent paid to tenants.

“Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans do not want the rent laws to be enforced,” said Kavanagh about the effort, which was first reported by the Daily News. “So they’re trying to remove the funding.”

The Assembly has already put forth its own budget proposal as has the governor, with both supporting the agency. But Kavanagh said since the governor and both houses have to support it, the Assembly is bracing for a fight.

“We’re going to fight this and we expect that they’re going to fight back,” he said.

The Senate’s Housing Chair Catherine Young, a Republican from upstate Olean, did not respond to a request for comment from T&V. However, according to the Daily News, she believes the TPU has been operating with a lack of transparency.

While the focus is still on the budget, as well as school reforms and ethics reforms, renewal or expiration of the Rent Stabilization Laws (the latter of which is not expected) is set to take place in June.

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