Government Affairs

Here are the 2021 Talking Points

Covid Strikes Government

While government at all levels has continued to meet - either virtually or in-person - throughout the pandemic, much of the focus has been on how to get through this difficult period with the least amount of disruption.  Legislative agendas have been placed on the back burner while only the most important non-financial issues have been addressed.

Once REALTORS® were permitted to return to work, the hot housing market resumed without missing a beat. So what can the membership expect in the future?  Regardless of the result in the presidential election, taxes at all levels will mostly likely be increased in order to pay for the deficits incurred to bolster the economy through this period.  Municipalities, in particular, will be forced to raise property and school taxes to close financial shortfalls and pay for precautions implemented to mitigate the effects of the virus.  Simultaneously, with the significant increase in the national deficit, the Federal Reserve may be forced to raise interest rates, thereby increasing mortgage rates.

It is hard to determine what the total impact of this will be.  It is likely that while we have enjoyed an unprecedented housing market over the past eight years, this cannot last indefinitely.  Increases in taxes, growing deficits, shrinking inventories, rising unemployment and a potential recession and inflation do not create an optimistic outlook.  As English poet Robert Herrick once stated: "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may."

New York State Legislation

Since 2018, Democrats have assumed control of all three houses of state government.  The impact has been not only legislation dominated by one party, but also a significant amount of control by officials from the New York City and Long Island areas.  The most recent impact has been the number of bills submitted which deal with tenant rights.  Opposed by NYSAR, the legislation places "onerous and overly restrictive 'good cause eviction' standard and impose de facto rent control statewide without any home rule option."  While essentially providing tenants with a perpetual lease even when terms of that lease have expired, it will reduce the market value of existing properties and discourage investors.  Unlike other proposed laws which would only impact New York City, this is a state-wide effort which "addresses" a problem in upstate which doesn't exist.

RPAC 

The last few days have been nothing short of a political earthquake as Andrew Cuomo resigned after 10 years as governor of our state. We now have a Western New York native and the first female, Kathy Hochul, ascending to the top job in New York State.

Cuomo’s fall from grace puts Hochul squarely in the national and international spotlight. She is now charged with overseeing 20 million citizens and a $1.5 trillion economy. Hochul has always supported REALTORS, and has kept an open door on issues related to industry and private property rights.

We are also in the midst of a heated mayoral campaign pitting longtime Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown against India Walton. To call Walton’s primary victory an upset would be akin to saying that Buffalo gets a little snow in the winter. As with Hochul, Mayor Brown has consistently supported REALTOR issues and has demonstrated respect for our members and the BNAR.

How does this affect you?
Both of these momentous events reinforces the absolute need to have a strong voice in government circles. Political advocacy is paramount to protect you, your business, the real estate industry, and homeowners rights. As an example your contributions have impacted Independent Contractor status unemployment benefits, property tax caps, Covid relief, and numerous other issues.

There are several political battles we are simultaneously supporting or trying to defeat. The moratorium on evictions is a prime example of a current issue we’re fighting in Albany and in D.C.

Don't rely on your co-workers to protect your welfare.  Remember: “If you’re not at the table, you are probably on the menu!”

Here are the instructions to contributing through your member portal.