Inflation Reduction and Middle-Class Affordability Measures Pass Senate

The New York State Senate passed measures to lower the cost of living and increase affordability for New York families. The proposed package enacts the Toll Payer Protection Act; includes an extended notification and grace period for expired vehicle registrations; requires wire fraud transfer warnings; authorizes a private right of action in mortgage servicer violations; allows for manufactured home titles to be surrendered as real property, as opposed to personal property; expands eligibility for the Low-Interest Rate Program for up to seven years post-graduation; caps the delinquent tax rate and removing the mandatory minimum for municipalities to charge; protects individuals from charges related to bank account closures, and increases penalties against unlicensed brokers. These changes will help disentangle New Yorkers from rampant nickel and diming that quickly snowball into debt, give more leeway for important relief opportunities, and help keep hard-earned dollars in taxpayers' pockets, according to the Senate Majority.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “The average cost of living for New York families continues to bind households, where hard choices between paying the utility bill or covering the cost of insulin are made every day. These packages of legislation will help ease these burdens by lowering the cost of various prescription drugs, optimizing market prices, cutting away unnecessary red tape, and streamlining services for the middle and working class. I am proud to lead our conference in tackling these pressing issues facing New York State, and I thank the sponsors for advancing this timely and crucial legislation.”

Read the Senate Majority release.

Inflation Reduction and Middle-Class Affordability Measures Read More

Toll Payer Protection Act: S492A, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie, relates to enacting the "toll payer protection act" which includes a toll-by-mail system for the payment of tolls by electronic toll devices; provides for the repeal of such system five years after the enactment of such system.

Reasonable Notice for Safety Inspection: S1242, sponsored by Senator Simcha Felder, establishes that the Department of Motor Vehicles shall notify individuals via postal mail or electronic notification that their vehicle inspection is subject to expiration thirty days before such expiration, and provides for a five day grace period after the expiration where operators will not be fined.

Wire Fraud Warning: S177, sponsored by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, requires money transmitters to warn customers about consumer fraud related to wire transfers.

Private Right of Action in Mortgage Servicer Violations: S564A, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, authorizes a private right of action, counterclaims, and third-party claims regarding mortgage servicer violations in foreclosure actions.

Conversion of Manufactured Home Titles: S101, sponsored by Senator Sean Ryan, facilitates the conversion of manufactured home titles to be surrendered as real property instead of personal property for the purposes of obtaining home mortgages instead of personal property loans. This will help enhance financing options for purchasers of manufactured homes.

Expanding Low-Interest Rate Program: S935, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, expands eligibility for the Low-Interest Rate Program, offered by the State of New York Mortgage Agency to graduates of post-secondary education or a comparable apprenticeship or workforce training programs, for a period of seven years post-graduation.

Bank Account Closure Protections: S1065, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, prohibits state-chartered banks from making deposits or withdrawals, keeping or reopening an account, and charging certain maintenance fees if a customer has indicated their desire to close the account.

Delinquent Property Tax Rate Cap: S967, sponsored by Senator Sean Ryan, caps the interest rate on delinquent property taxes to a maximum of 7.5 percent and removes the current 12 percent floor as the lowest rate municipalities may charge. This change will help New Yorkers resolve their tax foreclosure delinquency and avoid foreclosure.

Increased Penalties for Unlicensed Mortgage Brokers: S1144, sponsored by Senator James Sanders, increases penalties for unlicensed entities that engage as mortgage brokers and prohibits others from doing business with unlicensed mortgage brokers.

Member/Sponsor Support Read More

Bill Sponsor State Senator Leroy Comrie said, “I have been working closely with my colleagues for years to find the proper balance of protecting New Yorkers who have accumulated a considerable amount of fines and fees and ensuring that the state has adequate enforcement mechanisms against intentional toll violators." said “My bill, The Toll Payer Protection Act, S492A, will make the current tolling system fairer and more efficient, and protect New York drivers from being surprised by unexpected late fees that could impact their financial bottom line and their very livelihood. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for advancing this important legislation.”

Bill Sponsor Senator Simcha Felder said, “Government is supposed to make life easier for taxpayers, so I am proud that we will finally end the practice of charging New Yorkers for these GOTCHA tickets. It is understandable that car inspection is the last thing on the minds of hard-working New Yorkers, up until they find a hefty ticket on their car. If you send them a notice and give them just a bit of grace, they will take care of it. It's a no-brainer and the people of New York deserve no less."

Bill Sponsor Senator Brian Kavanagh said, “Empowering homeowners to protect their homes, preserve their rights, and minimize their financial losses when mortgage servicers violate New York’s foreclosure regulations is especially important now, as many homeowners are still recovering from the hardships imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. I am proud to sponsor this legislation, S564A, and I thank Senator Sanders and the members of the Banks Committee for advancing the bill to the floor, all my Senate colleagues who are voting to pass it today, and the many organizations in the New Yorkers for Responsible Lending coalition who have advocated to give homeowners these critical homeowner protection tools. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly and the Governor to enact this important legislation.”

Bill Sponsor Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Too many young, professional New Yorkers are being priced out of their livelihoods before they even hit the ground running. My bill to expand the Low-Interest Rate Program would take necessary steps to make homeownership more attainable for first-time buyers, and help retain the skills and expertise of graduates within our own communities. This legislation will go a long way in keeping New York excellence right here at home, and I want to thank Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for advancing it today.  This is one of many actions we are taking to accelerate the economic growth and well-being of our residents and state.”

Bill Sponsor Senator Shelley Mayer said, “For many years consumers have complained about the difficulty of closing a bank account. Banks will often keep open or reopen customers’ accounts, even after notification that the account should be closed, and charge these customers for low account balances and overdraft penalties when third parties request payments from the account. Regulation and transparency in banking is of the utmost importance for consumers. My bill, S1065, will prohibit state-chartered banks from making deposits or withdrawals, keeping or reopening an account, and charging certain maintenance fees if a customer has indicated their desire to close the account. I am pleased that it will be included in the Senate’s inflation reduction and affordability package. Thank you to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and my colleagues for your attention to this important issue.”

Bill Sponsor Senator Sean Ryan said, “Every year, many New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times have their misfortune compounded by unfair interest rates for back property taxes. These outdated, punitive rates often keep homeowners from recovering from their financial distress and can make it impossible to build wealth. By paving the way for municipalities to lower their interest rates to modern standards, this bill will help us to break this cycle of poverty while also cutting down on zombie properties in cities across New York.”

Advocate Support Read More

Oda C. Friedheim, Supervising Attorney, Foreclosure Prevention Unit, The Legal Aid Society said, “In 2020 the Department of Financial Services (DFS) promulgated strong rules governing mortgage servicers. The Legal Aid Society welcomes the passage of Senate Bill 564A which by authorizing a private right of action to enforce these rules would provide a powerful tool to homeowners facing foreclosure to defend against the many abuses on the part of mortgage servicers.”

David R. Jones, The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) President and CEO said, “The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) supports the State Senate’s efforts to enact legislation that would reduce the costs of prescription drugs and protect consumers from mortgage abuses. The legislation prioritizes the interests of everyday New Yorkers while improving affordability and protecting New York families.” 

Kirsten Keefe, Senior Attorney and Director of Empire Justice Center’s Anchor Partner program under the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) said, “Empire Justice Center strongly supports the two Senate bills that would provide relief to distressed homeowners. First, S.967 addresses rising tax delinquencies that advocates are seeing across the state by reducing the interest rate on delinquent taxes from 12% to 7.5%, making it more likely that homeowners will be able to cure defaults and stay in their homes. The second bill, S.564A, would ensure homeowners don’t lose their homes because of servicers violations of New York State’s common sense mortgage servicing regulations – currently only enforceable by the Department of Financial Services. Homeowners would be able to raise material violations as a defense to their foreclosure or bring a separate action if the violation harms the homeowner.”

Senators Involved