Albany Democrats have set out to right what they call a grievous injustice being endured by New York’s upstate counties. No, not the right to revive their moribund economies by developing their natural gas resources. No, not taking steps to lower the employee pension and health care costs that are sapping their shrinking property tax base.
Instead, Democrats from Kingston and Albany propose, in what they call the Statewide Tenant Protection Act, to extend the right to impose price controls on rent, currently limited to New York City, plus Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties, to the entire state.
The bill would remove “arbitrary geographic restrictions” on the applicability of the state’s rent- and eviction-regulation system, allowing municipalities statewide to opt in.
It’s too much to hope that Albany will wake up to the counterproductive effects of rent regulation in the five boroughs, which include low rents for affluent households, low housing turnover that leads to under-occupied apartments and a red-tape nightmare for small landlords in the outer boroughs, where regulated rents are sometimes higher than market rents.
Howard Husock is vice president for policy research and publications at the Manhattan Institute.
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