Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed on Thursday that the growth mandates which anchored her housing plan this year will not be part of her agenda going into the new legislative session in January.
A controversial requirement to build housing every three years by certain percentages for areas upstate and downstate was the centerpiece of Hochul’s plan to construct 800,000 units of new housing over a decade — “The New York Housing Compact” — that she unveiled last session. But the mandates were widely unpopular with suburban state legislators and ultimately tanked much of Hochul’s proposal.
Instead, Albany ended its session in June without passing any major housing growth plan or the tenant protections championed by many progressive lawmakers.
The governor, during an unrelated press conference on Nov. 30, confirmed a report from City & State that she will not be pursuing the same housing plan with the state legislature next year and instead will use executive action to advance her agenda. She explained that her decision was motivated by 2024 not being an ideal time to again push unpopular housing mandates with state lawmakers, who are all up for reelection.
“I’m not going to head down the same path we did last year with the exact same plan in a year that is an election year for the members, where they have different focus and priorities,” Hochul told reporters Thursday. “And I’m going to make sure we get there. Will it be in 10 years? I’ll be around long enough to make sure we do.”
The governor’s decision also comes as Democrats hope to take back the House next year by flipping several swing seats in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island, areas where the housing mandates received the most backlash.
Pushing for the growth requirements again could provide fodder for Republican attacks on Democrats hoping to retake seats in suburban districts.
Hochul added that it has taken many years for other states like California to make progress in building more housing and that she “started the conversation” with the introduction of her plan this year.
“It is a longer journey than I’d like, but I’m on that journey,” Hochul said. “So the process has started to educate members and educate the public that changes need to happen at the legislative level.”
421-A replacement still on table
While Hochul is setting aside housing production mandates for this session, she will continue to push for a replacement to the 421-a affordable housing tax incentive favored by developers, according to City & State.
In July, the governor introduced a targeted tax incentive for developers in the recently-rezoned Gowanus section of Brooklyn who had affordable housing projects in the 421-a pipeline but did not get the benefit after the program expired.
The legislature declined to renew 421-a last year, with progressives arguing it was a giveaway to big developers that did not lead to the creation of much truly affordable housing. Instead, they have pushed tenant protection legislation like “Good Cause Eviction,” which would both cap rent increases for rent-regulated tenants and bar landlords from evicting tenants unless they violate the terms of their leases.
Hochul, landlord groups and the real estate industry all oppose that measure. Opponents of Good Cause argue it would hurt property owners and reduce the number of available apartments, leading to higher rents.