The Democratic Socialists in America have just got another seat at the table deciding on housing laws in New York.
Senate Jabari Brisport, the newly elected Democrat from Crown Heights, has been appointed to the Senate Housing Committee, Construction and community development. Housing proposals must normally be approved by the commission in order to vote in the Senate.
Brisport, a public school teacher who ousted incumbent Senator Tremain Wright with DSA support, campaigned for rent abolition, raising taxes for the rich, financing public housing, enacting a blanket eviction moratorium, and undergoing nationwide rent control. Such was the moratorium enacted in January and progressive legislators continued to push for the remainder legislative wish list.
Brisport said he was excited to join other “housing champions” such as Sens. Zellnor Myrie and Julia Salazar, who enforced tenant legislation. He said his first priority in the committee was over Salazar’s bill for canceling the lease.
Although he said he was not in contact with any “large or corporate” landlords in his district, he stressed the inclusion of a landlord’s distress fund in the law, but said he was trying to address the state’s housing crisis after the pandemic. .
“The problem we’re trying to solve is, what are you doing when the eviction moratorium ends?” Brisport said. “What are you doing with millions of people who haven’t been able to pay rent for months?”
The data comes from census data, compiled consultation with Stout, which shows that 800,000 tenant households have little or no confidence in their ability to pay rent for the next month. The addition of some households with a slight confidence in this ability will increase the number to 1.23 million.
Industry news indicated that rent payments remained stable throughout the pandemic and not well below the pre-pandemic rate.
Brisport’s appointment as Senate Major General Andrea Stewart-Cousins will move the 11-member committee further to the left, reflecting a two-thirds majority of Senate Democrats secured in the November election.
From 2019 to 2020, four Republican senators sat on the committee, approving some of them the most progressive legislation in the field of housing when he passed in New York. There are now only three Republicans left: Phil Boyle of Long Island, Pamela Helming of Canandaigua and Mike Martucci of Ulster County.
Two newly elected Senate Democrats, Sean Ryan of Buffalo and John Mannion of Syracuse, were also appointed to the committee. They both have expressed support for Stewart-Cousins’ plan to raise taxes for the rich to address New York’s budget deficit, which Governor Andrew Cuomo called an option he would rather avoid.
One additional seat of the panel for a senator supported by the DSA may not determine the fate of such controversial legislation as eviction for good cause, which is essentially a nationwide rent control. However, this reflects the lasting influence of the socialist group, whose handful of state candidates swept their races last year.
The committee’s restructuring was based in part on Republican pensions: Queensbury Senator Betty Little and Albany Senator George Amedore did not seek re-election.
Apart from the Republicans who have vacated their seats, Manhattan Housing Senator Liz Krueger, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, will not be on the housing committee in this cycle.
Last February, progressive groups under pressure Krueger to support taxes for the rich. They released a report highlighting billionaires who call it the District House, including Blackstone Stephen Schwarzman and Jonathan Gray, Lefrak CEO Richard Lefrak and New York Mets owner Steven Cohen.