Gov. Kathy Hochul has been traveling the state to drum up support for a key plank in her $227 billion budget proposal: Significantly expanding housing in New York in order to drive down costs.
But opposition from municipal officials who worry about the loss of local decision-making, as well as progressives calling for more aid for low-income renters, has arisen as Hochul tries to sell the proposals a month to go before the state budget is due.
The goal is to expand available housing by 800,000 units in the next decade, and Hochul hopes the measures she's backing in the budget will spur that process along and make housing and rents less expensive.
"Communities from Long Island up to the North Country up to Jamestown, we have not kept pace with the demand for housing," she said on Wednesday at an event in Albany.
Hochul's proposal offers a carrot and stick approach. She wants more funding to boost infrastructure for communities expanding housing. And she wants to be able to circumvent local zoning officials when they block qualified projects.
"I want to be able to show communities we don't have to be afraid of this, we should lean into this, because the communities that do are going to be the most prosperous," she said.
Housing and development can be a thorny political issue for local governments, while at the same time renters have also struggled with surging costs.
Democrats and Republicans alike in the Legislature have concerns. Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Jabari Brisport wants a provision included that would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants and raise rents, known as good cause eviction.
"Low-income people, middle class and working class people are the ones who are leaving New York," he said. "When we talk about outward migration, New York is losing Black people by the thousands because they can't afford the housing."
Republican state Assemblyman Josh Jensen, who represents suburbs of Rochester, says more immediateo help is needed for local governments with the impact on infrastructure that would come with more housing.
"If you all of a sudden have single family housing being turned down and replaced by multi family — the roads, the sewer infrastructure — they weren't build to handle any additional capacity," he said.
Hochul touted her housing plan at an event outside of the state Captiol as state lawmakers grilled housing officials on her proposals. The governor says she's confident an agreement can be reached.
"They all represent districts, Republican and Democrat, where there constituents who are saying we can't afford to live here," she said. "We can't afford the rent."
Hochul this week takes her housing tour next to Long Island, where the proposals could have the biggest impact — and some of the most significant opposition.