Legislative and Regulatory Blueprint
The New York State Builders Association (NYSBA) and its membership of over 2,300 homebuilding, remodeling and associated businesses work to promote the residential construction industry's ability to provide quality housing to New Yorkers of all incomes.
For 2014, NYSBA will continue to advance legislation and regulatory reform that addresses three broad issues:
- Promoting homeownership by increasing affordable housing stock for all New Yorkers;
- Addressing the key factors that drive up the cost of housing;
- Encouraging a more business-friendly climate in New York State.
While cost increases can result from forces far beyond the control of government officials, frequently it is specific government action that reduces housing affordability. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis has found that every $819 increase in fees paid at the beginning of the construction process - such as an increase in the price of a construction permit, a tap fee, a proffer or an impact fee — adds an additional $1,000 to the final price of the home. The differential occurs because when construction costs rise, other costs, such as financing costs and broker commissions, rise in tandem.
Every time the price of a house goes up by $1,000 a 550 more people in Upstate New York are effectively knocked out of the housing market. That number expands to 4,200 when calculated for New York City.
For 2014, The New York State Builders Association Legislative Agenda Supports:
- Scaffold Law Reform
- Vested Rights
- Extending The New York Green Residential Building Program
- Article 78 Reform
- Real Property Tax Credit for Universal Design
- Renewal of 421-b Program
- Community Benefit Agreement Reform
- Reforming The Code Council's "More Restrictive Local Standard" Process
- Strengthening the Economy Through Business-Friendly Legislation and Mandate Relief
For 2014, The New York State Builders Association will continue to oppose:
- Fire Sprinkler Mandates
NYSBA will continue to oppose any implementation of the ICC's fire sprinkler mandate. We support legislation that was introduced last year which will allow builders to offer prospective home buyers the opportunity to install fire sprinklers upon their request in place of any state imposed mandates.
As we have stated many times, NYSBA does not oppose fire sprinklers, but we do oppose oppressive state government mandates that add $10,000 to $20,000 to the cost of a new home. These costs keep many New Yorkers out of the housing market and put many in the construction industry in our state out of work.
That is why NYSBA supports legislation (S.4610 – Young / A. 7916 – Morelle) that would require homebuilders to provide prospective buyers with information on the installation and maintenance of automatic fire sprinkler systems.
- Expansion of State Wetlands Jurisdiction
NYSBA opposes increasing state wetlands jurisdiction. Wetlands are currently highly regulated at the federal, state and local levels in many New York municipalities. There is no "loophole" to be closed, as the state currently has the capacity to regulate wetlands of any size if they are of unusual local importance (ULI).
Wetland regulations, particularly buffer zones, can prohibit development of much larger "dry" areas outside of the wetlands when such regulations are considered in the context of other regulatory schemes such as setback, stormwater and septic requirements. Further expansion of existing multi-layered wetlands protections will continue to decrease potential development and redevelopment sites, thereby increasing land costs for lots that retain viable building footprints. Thus NYSBA opposes S.728 (Avella)
- SEQRA Citizen Suit Legislation
Regardless of recent court successes, we believe that environmental groups will continue to push legislation that would effectively deputize such activist groups to bring lawsuits under SEQRA on behalf of the public at large. The DEC or the lead public agency in the SEQRA process is charged with executing the public trust. This effectively transfers the mantle of protection of the public interest to groups not required to operate in the public interest. Unlike a nuisance suit where a plaintiff experiences direct damage to his property, this is directed at injury in a very generic or ephemeral sense. That is why NYSBA opposes A.2047 (Kavanaugh) / S.2769 (Parker).
- Unnecessary changes to real property tax assessment of condominiums and cooperatives
NYSBA continues to oppose legislation that would dramatically increase taxes for new condos and cooperatives by changing the methodology used for tax assessment. It would be unfair and unequal treatment under the law to have new condominiums and cooperatives subject to a formula that yields a much greater assessed value than that of existing condominiums and cooperatives. That is why NYSBA opposes S.1000 (Little) / A.682 (Galef).
- Expanding Prevailing Wage into Residential Construction
Labor unions continue to push legislation that would require residential construction projects to pay union-scale wages to construction workers.
While exact numbers vary from county to county, prevailing wages can increase the cost of affordable housing development by 30% or more. Deals that are difficult to underwrite today, will become impossible in the future.
There is clearly a shortage of affordable housing in New York State and these "reforms" will only exacerbate the problem because the homebuyer will ultimately incur the additional costs from prevailing wage projects.
It has become perfectly clear to all New Yorkers the importance of the housing industry to our economy. State and local governments should be encouraging homeownership through legislative and regulatory reforms that address the roadblocks that are preventing everyone in this state from participating in the American Dream.
State and local governments must also seriously reform real property taxation and unfunded mandate schemes to ensure New Yorkers' ability to maintain their own homes; leverage housing assistance programs through statewide coordination; and strengthen our state environment through incentives to encourage builders to "go green."
These important changes listed above will only come about when our legislators in Albany and local governments across this state finally wake up to the correlation between housing and New York's economic vitality.