Restore full deductions of state and local taxes. Ease commercial-to-residential conversions. Stop proposed expansions of rent control and prevailing wage.
Those are among a slew of real estate priorities for 2021 released this week by the Long Island Association, the chief advocacy group for businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The organization also wants architects and engineers to be able to self-certify renovations and expansions of single-family homes and straightforward improvements of commercial buildings, saving time and money.
State and local taxes, known in political and real estate circles by the acronym SALT, were fully deductible on federal tax returns until congressional Republicans and the Trump administration implemented a sweeping tax overhaul in December 2017, limiting them to $10,000. On Long Island, property and state income taxes readily run into the tens of thousands of dollars even for middle-class households.
Although the effect of the deduction cap is now baked into housing markets, reversal of the policy change would likely boost property values and make Long Island and the rest of the Northeast more competitive. Even before the change, New York was losing population relative to other states. Opponents of the cap see hope for its elimination given the change in power in Washington.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month proposed a short-cut for converting office properties to affordable housing in New York City, a measure that the Long Island Association would like expanded to Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The business group also wants no part of “good cause eviction,” a legislative proposal equivalent to statewide rent control. “Developers would struggle to attract the private financing necessary to build more affordable units despite the substantial demand in the region,” the organization explained on its 14-page agenda.
It also opposes any further expansion of prevailing wage for construction workers, believing it would curtail affordable housing and other development.
Other real estate-related priorities on the Long Island Association’s list include:
- The Nassau Hub, a county proposal for a live-work-play “innovation district” with a biotech park around anchor tenant Northwell Health;
- A structured parking facility to maximize the usage for the remaining acreage surrounding the Nassau Coliseum;
- Redevelopment of the south side of the Ronkonkoma Hub by Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, and the Midway project, including a new structured parking facility and a privately financed sports, entertainment, life sciences and health care hub, and a state-of-the-art convention center;
- Expansion of MacArthur Airport;
- New sewage infrastructure and modern septic systems to allow more mixed-use, transit-oriented development, especially multifamily housing;
- Curb housing discrimination, racial steering and exclusionary zoning;
- Cluster industries and add housing, recreation and a workforce training center to an Innovation Park in Hauppauge;
- Transform the unfinished, abandoned Shoreham nuclear power plant into a deep-water cargo port and manufacturing park for renewable energy (a similar effort just got the green light in Sunset Park, Brooklyn);
- Limit how much time towns can take to evaluate projects;
- Consolidate all downstate horse racing at Belmont Park (Aqueduct and Yonkers also have tracks);
- Accelerate residential rezoning reviews near Long Island Rail Road stations;
- Expand 5G cell service to underserved communities.