Hochul to remove teeth from housing plan

Governor drops controversial provision for election year, but will pursue others

Governor Kathy Hochul to Drop Housing Mandate from Agenda
Photo illustration of Gov. Kathy Hochul (Getty)

With a big election on tap next year, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is taking the bite out of her housing plan.

Hochul is ditching her pursuit of legislation requiring more housing, City and State NY reported. Housing was a top priority of Hochul’s last year in the wake of winning a four-year term, but the plan’s central element met steep opposition — especially in the suburbs, where Republicans flipped state and congressional seats and took control of the House of Representatives.

Hochul’s platform called for the addition of 800,000 homes over a decade. Its linchpin was three-year housing growth targets that localities had to try to meet, or developers could circumvent them and get their projects approved by a new state panel.

The targets were modest — 3 percent in downstate areas and 1 percent upstate — but easily exploited by Republican legislators and candidates to agitate voters. “Local control, not Hochul control” was their rallying cry.

Those efforts were most prevalent where Democrats are looking to win back congressional seats in next year’s election. Those concerns were part of Hochul’s decision on the housing mandates, sources told City and State, given that the mandates almost certainly wouldn’t be approved by the legislature anyway.

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It did not help Hochul that progressives joined in the opposition, arguing that the governor did not require affordable housing in her proposal, which focused on adding supply. Labor unions also failed to support Hochul’s plan because it lacked job guarantees for their members.

Supporters of the plan rationalized its defeat, saying that it generally takes several years to build up enough support for housing mandates to pass, but that housing plans without them don’t accomplish much.

A spokesperson for the governor told City and State, “Until the legislature is ready to come back to the table with a serious approach to build more housing in New York, the governor is focusing on using her executive powers to address the housing crisis.”

Holden Walter-Warner

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