Capital New York:
Members of the Real Estate Board of New York and their firms gave $21.7 million in campaign contributions to state-level elections in the last cycle, accounting for more than 10 percent of the money that entered the campaign finance system.
This money, which represents only some of the political spending by New York’s real estate industry, crossed party lines and benefitted both the Republicans who control the State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo. According to Capital's analysis of political giving, Cuomo and his allied committees received the majority of donations from members of the real estate magnate.
Cuomo has previously pledged to reduce the influence of money in politics, but in his latest round of reform negotiations, he said one measure pushed by good-government groups—closing a “loophole” whereby the Board of Elections treats limited liability companies as individuals—was too controversial for discussion. The Board of Elections will reconsider its interpretation at a Thursday meeting.
And major issues for REBNY are expected to loom large for lawmakers when they reconvene later this month. It has strong positions on several issues sunsetting in June, including the 421a and J-51 tax abatement programs as well as rent control in New York City, which developers oppose expanding.