Watch: Eliot Spitzer’s advice for Kathy Hochul

Ousted governor turned developer advises successor to leverage her political standing and fund infrastructure, housing

Less than a year after ascending to New York’s highest office following the ouster of her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, Gov. Kathy Hochul is neck-deep in her first state budget negotiations — an annual slog through the political swamp of Albany in which much is at stake but little is revealed to the public until a final deal is reached.

Numerous real estate issues remain unsettled as talks stretch far beyond the budget’s April 1 deadline, including a ban on construction of gas-powered buildings and a replacement program for the popular property tax break known as 421a — two proposals which Hochul has supported.

But with statewide elections just months away, Hochul enjoys one critical piece of leverage that many of her counterparts in the state legislature lack: a comfortable lead in opinion polls over her likely primary opponents.

Like the contentious proposals for the state budget, whether Hochul will wield her newfound political clout to push through her priorities remains to be seen. In the meantime, one of her predecessors has some free advice to give.

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Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer spoke with The Real Deal publisher Amir Korangy about his time in office and his time since then as a tri-state-area real estate developer and steward of his late father’s Manhattan property empire.

The full interview will be released at a later date, but amid the budget talks, TRD is sharing Spitzer’s advice for Hochul. Asked by Korangy what counsel he’d offer, Spitzer advised her to stick to her guns.

“You’re going to win this election rather easily,” Spitzer said. “So you should use your political capital to be smart in how you spend the state budget and make wise investments in infrastructure.”

“Housing and transportation critically need funds,” he added, “and NYCHA needs loads of attention.”

For more on Spitzer’s life after the scandal that brought down his political career, read his 2019 interview from TRD’s “The Closing” series.