Realtor Lobby Day Leads to Successful Extension of Property Tax Cap

John Jordan | July 2015

 Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.51.26 PMFirst and foremost, it’s important to thank the hundreds of Realtors who attended this year’s Lobby Day in Albany. Realtors from across the state—from Western New York, the Adirondacks, Hudson Valley, Long Island, and everywhere in between—converged on Albany to hold legislators accountable and make sure they have a firm grasp of New York Realtors’ priorities.

The final weeks of the legislative session is a time when the stakes are high and priority issues take center stage. Those who wish to have a voice at the table must make their presence known, making it an ideal time for our annual Realtor Lobby Day in Albany.

With Change, Comes Opportunity

This year saw unprecedented change in leadership within the state Senate and Assembly. A new Senate Majority Leader, John Flanagan, and new Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, took the reins of their respective houses into what would be an overtime session. As Realtors prepared for their Lobby Day meetings with their local legislators, the outcome for many key legislative issues remained uncertain. Extension to the state’s Property Tax Cap, which NYSAR played a significant role in the passage of in 2011, and tax relief for homeowners were far from certain at the time.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.51.19 PM

However, with change, sometimes comes opportunity. NYSAR welcomed newly-elected Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan as the keynote speaker at the June 9th Lobby Day event. After listening to our Realtor priorities, Senator Flanagan said, “I am very confident that the property tax cap will be extended.” He went on to address the Lobby Day crowd saying, “Your advocacy and your knowledge is very helpful for me and my colleagues…We have your back. Our conference understands what you need.” In the weeks that followed the NYSAR Lobby Day, Senator Flanagan helped negotiate an end-of-session legislative package that not only included a four-year extension of the Property Tax Cap, but also a $3.1-billion tax rebate program for property owners outside the city of New York.

Accomplishments – Looking Into The Future

NYSAR Lobby Day takes time out of your schedule. It’s a day that Realtors leave their homes and businesses and travel to Albany to participate in a legislative process that has a real impact on the lives and businesses of all New Yorkers. NYSAR understands the sacrifice of its members and, therefore, works diligently to ensure Realtor advocacy is at its highest level.

Together, we accomplished a significant amount of progress in New York State so far this year. In addition to extending the state’s property tax cap and the creation of a property tax rebate program, NYSAR worked to oppose a city “mansion” tax in New York City and a proposal mandating the installation of residential fire sprinklers. We support an optional installation tax credit instead. That fight currently continues.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 9.18.00 PMThere is still much more to be done. In order to best advocate on behalf of members, NYSAR maintains an open dialogue with state lawmakers, associations and local Realtor boards year-round so that information is properly shared and necessary action can be taken on important issues. NYSAR is working on multiple fronts to not only monitor legislation that could potentially harm or help Realtors and homeowners, but also actively working to propose measures that would boost homeownership in the state.

Looking into the future, NYSAR will be working to reduce financial hurdles for first-time homebuyers, and advocating for a healthier economic environment for Realtors who work hard to earn a living while helping their residential and commercial real estate clients. Our accomplishments are a product of cooperation with strong local boards across the state like the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth