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Hochul’s housing plan remains a question in state budget debate

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  • Staff Report 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s ambitious proposal to tackle the state’s housing crisis has met with resistance from local lawmakers. The plan, which aims to create 800,000 new housing units over the next decade, has been under consideration for several months but has struggled to gain widespread support.

Gov. Hochul’s proposal includes the establishment of a state-level board to expedite housing projects, even in the face of local objections. The plan also emphasizes development near commuter rail stations. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins acknowledged the housing shortage but noted that the governor’s plan is a hard sell for many communities.

The housing initiative has faced opposition from Long Island officials, who argue that it undermines local control. However, supporters, including Gov. Hochul, emphasize the urgent need to increase housing availability and reduce costs, which have soared in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Hochul’s plan also calls for a 3% increase in housing stock in the metropolitan region and a 1% increase in upstate communities, with funding for infrastructure such as water and sewer systems. However, Democratic lawmakers have favored vouchers for affordable housing and a more incentive-based approach. They have also shown interest in rent cap measures.

In response, Stewart-Cousins suggested a broader conversation on housing, focusing on incentives and partnership with the state government rather than implementing a top-down statewide approval mechanism. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also mentioned that ongoing budget negotiations may include tenant protections and additional funding for low-income individuals facing eviction.

The mixed reception to Gov. Hochul’s housing plan highlights the complexity of addressing New York’s housing crisis and the need for collaboration between state and local officials. As the debate continues, finding common ground on incentives and support mechanisms will be crucial for tackling the state’s urgent housing needs.

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