LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Lobby Day 2023—A Historic Day All Around
Alexander Roithmayr | May 15, 2023
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 2nd, two busloads of Realtors left the Hudson Valley and headed north. These buses, along with carloads of other individuals, met up with the rest of the HGAR lobby day contingent at the New York State Capital.
It became very clear to those who had attended Lobby Day that the Hudson Gateway Association was by far the largest contingent of Realtors in the state! Not only that, but HGAR’s attendance pushed this year’s Realtor participation past NYSAR records. Never had so many Realtors gathered for Lobby Day. Rumor has it that even the fire marshal was giving NYSAR trouble for having such al arge crowd.
In all seriousness, I want to thank the more than 120 HGAR members for making the trip to Albany. It was a historic day all around. For HGAR, we blew past last year’s number of 75 participants that filled out Hearing Room A. And for me, who had only been HGAR’s Government Affairs Director for four months, it was an overwhelming experience where I am beyond grateful for the level of enthusiasm, patience and participation by the membership. Thank you!
If NYSAR Lobby Day was not exciting enough, May 2nd was also the day that the long overdue $229-billion New York State budget was passed. Quite literally, while we were talking in hearing Room A in the Legislative Office Building, all around the capital, printers were feverishly printing bills, blurry-eyed staff were trying to maintain some sort of schedule and legislators were ducking in and out of meetings, all trying to finalize an over a month late state budget.
In what is being considered a black mark on the governor’s record, the New York State budget negotiations went way past the April 1st deadline. Legislators relied on several short-term extenders being passed by the Senate and Assembly to keep the state afloat. This is something that had not happened in New York State for more than 10 years.
The negotiation lines were drawn around a number of contentious topics. Some of the budget highlights are direct aid to schools by more than $2 billion, raising the minimum wage in the coming years to $17, more funds for mass transit in the New York City metropolitan region, changes to the state’s bail law in response criticisms of previous bail reform changes and the end of the use of natural gas hookups and appliances in new construction in the near future.
One of the biggest take aways from the budget negotiations was that Governor Hockul dropped her New York Housing Compact plan that would have added more than 800,000 new houses in the next 10 years. Her strong-arm approach was met with stiff resistance from mayors and supervisors that would have lost some local control on their local zoning laws. Ultimately, the legislature sided with the mayors and the housing plan was dropped.
The New York State Legislative Session still has a few weeks before the state representatives call it a year. In that time there will be a lot of follow-up and legislative updates. So, stay tuned as we close out the legislative year.
Thank you again to all those who attended Lobby Day. It was truly a powerful day for the individual Realtor, HGAR and our issues. I was lucky enough to have the same view as the state lawmakers that sat in the Hearing Room on Lobby Day and looked out at what was a sea of Realtors. It was a truly powerful image of strength for HGAR and the real estate industry.