Affordable housing advocates [including members of Make the Road New York] gathered in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office this afternoon to call for renewal and strengthening of the rent laws, which are scheduled to sunset June 15, within the confines of the budget, fearing the issue will lose bargaining chip power if left to post-budget talks.
The advocates tried to deliver a letter containing their demands to Cuomo at his Manhattan office yesterday, but since he wasn’t there (he was in Albany and Westchester, with no public schedule), they traveled north to make a second attempt at the Capitol.
Cuomo said recently that he views the property tax cap and rent control as “connected” and believes both should be negotiated as part of the budget. The cap has already been passed by the Senate and is a priority for the GOP, while the rent laws are a significant issue for the downstate-dominated Assembly Democratic conference.
So, the governor’s comments would seem to be a win-win for both majority conferences – not to mention a bit of a shift for the administration, which is insisting Cuomo hasn’t abandoned the “no linkage” stance he took early in the budget talks.
However, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said this week he thinks the rent laws and tax cap should be discussed after the budget, which throws a bit of a wrench into the works.
"Today, with 12,600 dues-paying members, MRNY is a unique amalgam of worker center, legal clinic, citizenship school, mutual aid society, policy shop, protest factory and church. Its four offices in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island are an egalitarian oasis for members, who gather there for conversation and classes..."