Housing Nixed in Latest Budget Talks

“It’s done. It’s not happening,” an Assembly source told New York Focus. Lawmakers are poised to reject measures to boost housing supply and protect renters.

Sam Mellins   ·   April 20, 2023
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State legislators in Albany are likely to remove all major housing policy from this year’s state budget, rejecting both measures to boost housing supply and proposed legislation to protect tenants from eviction and homelessness, three sources told New York Focus.

State Assembly leadership informed members of the decision this afternoon. “We haven’t passed the budget, so who knows what it will be, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to be doing significant things” on housing, said Democratic Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who represents part of Brooklyn.

“It’s done. It’s not happening,” an Assembly source said. “It’s unfortunate that nothing could be worked out.” Another Assembly source also said that major housing policy had been removed from the latest version of the budget.

Hochul press secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays said that there hasn’t been a final agreement on housing policy in the budget.

Mike Whyland, spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Boosting New York’s housing supply was the centerpiece of Hochul’s agenda this year. With the state facing an estimated shortage of hundreds of thousands of units, the governor’s plan would have upped supply by 800,000 units over the next decade, she claimed. The proposal sought to achieve this by imposing mandatory growth targets on every town and city statewide and requiring towns to permit more housing near train stations. This plan met resistance from both houses of the legislature, but especially the Assembly, which rejected it point blank earlier this week.

In the legislature, liberals and progressives were aiming to increase protections for tenants by passing “good cause eviction,” a law that would limit rent increases and give tenants the right to renew their leases, and a rental voucher program for New Yorkers who are homeless or at risk of eviction. Hochul didn’t include either of these in her budget proposal this year, but some lawmakers hoped to win them in a trade by approving Hochul’s housing plan.

Now, it appears that neither will happen. Other measures to boost housing supply — like allowing denser building in New York City and promoting conversions of office buildings to housing — are also likely to be excluded from the final budget.

“Instead of people compromising and figuring out a way to solve these problems, it seems like people are just vetoing everything and we’re not going to get anything done,” Carroll said. “We will never solve our housing crisis if the only housing that gets built is luxury housing in select neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.”

Sam Mellins is senior reporter at New York Focus, which he has been a part of since launch day. His reporting has also appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Intercept, THE CITY, and The Nation. 
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