Governors Race 2018

Governor

Published: 
August 2018

Welcome to this special election issue of Tenant/Inquilino.

Many crucial issues about New York City housing are determined at the state level, from the strength of our rent-regulation laws to funding for public housing. Therefore, we have taken the step of sending questionnaires to all candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and for the state Senate in the 20 districts with the highest numbers of rent-regulated tenants.

The primaries will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13, and the general election Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Find your polling place here: https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search


Andrew Cuomo, incumbent—Democrat, Independence, Women's Equality parties

Cynthia Nixon—Democrat, Working Families

Howie Hawkins—Green Party

Stephanie MinerIndependent

Republican Marc Molinaro and Libertarian Larry Sharpe did not respond to our questionnaires.


Andrew Cuomo, incumbent—Democrat, Independence, Women's Equality parties

http://www.andrewcuomo.com

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

Governor Cuomo has dramatically strengthened rent regulations—raising/indexing vacancy decontrol limits, raising the income threshold, limiting vacancy bonuses, limiting renovation calculation/amortization, limiting preferential rent, and creating the Tenant Protection Unit to combat abusive landlords—adding 60,000+ units back to regulation. He will advance a comprehensive plan—eliminating vacancy decontrol, limiting or eliminating vacancy bonuses, combating artificial rent inflation, making preferential rent the rent for the life of the tenancy, and securing new TPU enforcement tools.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

Years of neglect and mismanagement are the biggest issue facing NYCHA—which is why Governor Cuomo took action to address the crisis impacting 400,000 residents. In 2018, he declared a state of emergency and extended design-build authority to expedite necessary repairs and address the lead paint and mold crisis. He fought tirelessly for an additional $250 million in the state budget, increasing the state's NYCHA investment in recent years to a record $550 million.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

Yes, there is a need for more affordable housing across the state—which is why Governor Cuomo launched a $20 billion five-year plan to combat homelessness and increase access to affordable housing. He has championed a bill to outlaw housing discrimination based on the lawful source of one’s income, which is often used by landlords as a proxy to discriminate against potential tenants who are single mothers, veterans, minorities, elderly or individuals with disabilities.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

Governor Cuomo has invested more than $2.5 billion to combat homelessness and has required that all local social services districts develop and implement an approved outreach and services plan to address street homelessness. Additionally, he strengthened shelter services for homeless individuals living with mental illness in existing homeless shelters so that they can access needed treatment.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?

Governor Cuomo supports campaign-finance reform. He has achieved critical election, lobbying, and enforcement reforms, including first-in-the-nation legislation to curb the power of independent expenditure campaigns and end coordination in political campaigns after the Citizens United ruling. Governor Cuomo will continue to champion reforms—closing the limited-liability corporations loophole, limiting outside income and creating a full-time Legislature, implementing public financing to match small donations with public funds, capping "housekeeping" accounts, and disclosing “bundlers."


Cynthia Nixon—Democrat, Working Families

http://www.cynthiafornewyork.com#mce_temp_url#

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

Our call for universal rent control means renewing and strengthening rent laws, and expanding them to cover the whole state. This means closing the vacancy decontrol, vacancy bonus, preferential rent, and major-capital-improvements loopholes. For people living in smaller buildings, I support just-cause eviction legislation.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

The problem isn’t a lack of press conferences. It’s a lack of funding. Governor Cuomo: show them the money. The state needs to give NYCHA the funding that’s been allocated—stop withholding, stop attaching conditions, and stop making excuses. A billion dollars is an appropriate number to start with, but we need to look at all the options to generate revenue for NYCHA repairs.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

Yes. We need to invest in more housing that is truly affordable for New Yorkers who have been living here for decades. I think the priority is rent-stabilizing the existing housing stock of New York.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

There are around 89,000 homeless people living in shelters across the state—the highest number ever recorded. Under Governor Cuomo, New York State's homeless population increased by 37 percent. We need to create more supportive housing, increase funding to the Home Stability Support program, and expand access to the HIV Enhanced Shelter Allowance.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?

I support closing the LLC loophole, lowering contribution limits, and creating a comprehensive small-dollar public financing system.



Howie Hawkins
—Green Party

http://www.howiehawkins.org

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

Expand rent-regulation authority statewide. Repeal the Urstadt Law to give municipalities home rule to set their own regulations. Repeal loopholes to rent regulations (vacancy decontrol, vacancy bonus, preferential rent, major capital improvements). Cap rents at 30 percent of income through a refundable tax-credit circuit-breaker. I campaigned for stronger rent regulations as Green candidate for governor in 2010 and 2014. I fasted in solidarity with hunger-striking 85 Bowery tenants outside City Hall this May.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

The biggest issue is funding. NYCHA needs $32 billion over the next five years for repairs. New York State should fill the funding vacuum left by cuts in federal support with more progressive taxation: graduated brackets on multimillionaires’ incomes, retain revenue from the stock-transfer tax, claw back recent federal corporate tax cuts not used to create jobs or raise worker pay, and a tax on land-value increases unearned by landowner investments.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

Half of New York State renters pay more than the federal affordability standard of 30 percent of income. Build high-quality, human-scale, scatter-site, mixed-income, clean-energy public housing as a program for jobs, desegregation, and clean energy as well as affordable housing. Building public housing is cheaper than subsidizing affordable units in private developments. Mixed-income public housing is more economically sustainable. More public housing will lower demand and drive rents down in the private market as well.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

Spend the $20 billion Cuomo put in the 2016 budget but has not yet used to rehouse the homeless. Set aside enough funding in upcoming budgets to subsidize or build enough units to re-house the 89,000 homeless New Yorkers, which is up 36 percent since 2010. Fully fund 20,000 units of supportive housing that provide permanent housing combined with on-site services for people with problems with substance abuse, mental health, and/or physical needs.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?

I favor FULL public campaign financing on the “clean money,” model, where each candidate who qualifies receives a public grant sufficient to convey their message to their electorate and does not use private money. Arizona and Maine do this for state elections. PARTIAL public campaign financing on the matching-funds model just adds public money to the big private donations of the rich, who still dominate. Matching funds is a reform that hasn’t reformed.



Stephanie Miner
Independent

https://www.minerforny.com/

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

I am in favor of rent regulation in New York City, and providing some rent stability is necessary. As governor, I will support legislation that protects against rent hikes in excess of the board limitations on rent guidelines, and closing vacancy decontrol loopholes. We need to arrest and reverse the 150,000-unit decline of apartments covered by these protections. A dynamic housing market should not come at the expense of housing availability for low-income earners.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

Ignoring sustained, structural deficiencies at NYCHA has produced unsafe conditions for 400,000 New Yorkers. Falsified reports, forged tenant signatures, failures to inspect for lead, and a 120,000-case repair backlog are all examples of government at its worst. Immediately, the state needs to ensure the $550 million promised is allocated swiftly to remediate hazardous living conditions. Additionally, I would call for new management, provide capital funding, and design mechanisms for organizational transparency and accountability.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

Any vibrant urban environment must seek to stimulate a symbiosis between development and affordable housing. More than half of New York City residents are rent-burdened, and one-third of the city’s renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing. As governor, I will work with advocates, planners, and developers to make sure that the housing market does more to meet the needs of renters, half of whom make less than $46,000 a year.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?  

As mayor of Syracuse, homelessness was a priority, and we became one of the first cities in the U.S. to end veteran homelessness. This was accomplished by partnering with stakeholders both to combat poverty and address affordable housing needs. We must support innovative programs such as the Home Stability Support program which, for example, seeks a statewide rent supplement for low-income families and those who find themselves facing homelessness due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?  

In 2015, I elected not to accept donations from limited-liability corporations, an example of my commitment to change the status quo. I favor not only closing LLC loopholes, but also support the prohibition of campaign contributions from those doing business or seeking to do business with state government. Change starts with a personal commitment to abide by standards that leave a candidate free to advocate for the state without the influence of big money in politics.