New York state Senate Republicans unveiled a package of legislation Tuesday aimed to deal with affordable housing, incentivize home ownership and protect homeowners against “squatters.”

Championed by Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and Pam Helming, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, the package includes tax credits, removes certain regulations and incentivizes new construction.

“Our conference has a plan to revitalize our existing housing stock by removing blight from our communities and replacing it with good quality housing units, to work with local communities on what housing strategies are best for them, to expand and create incentives for development, and to establish means-testing for rent-regulated housing to ensure that affordable housing units are occupied by those who truly need them,” Ortt said in a statement. “The legislative package we are putting forward today under the leadership of our housing ranker Senator Pam Helming will deliver affordable homeownership for the state of New York.”

The lawmakers say the legislation would create a first-time homebuyer tax credit and a home renovation tax exemption to provide five years of property tax relief to homeowners who invest in their property; extend the 421-a tax incentive for developers; and establish the crime of squatting as criminal trespass in the third degree, among other things.

“Our Senate Republican Conference is again putting solutions on the table to increase access to affordable housing options for every New Yorker, from renters to first-time homebuyers to our workforce and seniors,” Helming said. “Importantly, our solutions preserve local control and prioritize collaboration with municipalities to facilitate new builds and improve existing housing stock.”

Among Democrats, who have supermajorities in both chambers of the New York Legislature, housing is expected to be the biggest sticking point for the governor and legislative leaders as they navigate ongoing state budget talks.

The Senate and Assembly's one-house budgets show lawmakers' priorities to build more housing units align more with Gov. Kathy Hochul's than this time last year, but they continue to clash on the details of tax incentives and the need for stronger tenant protections.

The budget is due April 1.


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