LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Highlights of the Latest COVID Aid Package

Philip Weiden | January 15, 2021

Philip Weiden

A COVID rescue package has been signed into law by President Trump. The legislation included the following:

One item is $4 billion for the MTA. The funding is critical to stave off cuts that the MTA claimed would be unavoidable without federal aid. If the aid was not forthcoming, MTA claimed that Metro North service west of the Hudson River would have been shut down. Service East of the Hudson would have seen major service cuts.

Another key provision included in the bill is billions of dollars for the pay check protection program. This has helped keep businesses afloat. The loans would be forgiven if they are used for rent, mortgages, payroll and other vital necessities for a business to survive. This provision was originally passed into law in the Cares Act, that was signed into law in the first half of 2020.

Billions in aid for rental assistance was also included in the bill. The funds will assist multiple New York government entities and by extension will provide aid needed to keep New Yorkers in their homes. Landlords need more help, and have not gotten nearly enough aid to cover expenses and mortgage payments. With eviction moratorium extensions at the federal and state level, landlords are struggling to survive.

Finally, aid to state and local governments was not included in the most recent rescue package. With U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as the incoming Senate Majority Leader, this will likely be included in legislation in the new Congress. An increase in the SALT cap is also likely. This would provide New York homeowners with much needed federal tax relief.

Stay tuned for updates on possible future COVID relief legislation.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.