Statement from Governor George E. Pataki

June 16, 1997

"We have worked to protect tenants, create competition in the housing market and ensure that government did not regulate housing in the future. All three goals have been met."

"All tenants but a handful of millionaires are protected because I believe that we must not change the rent laws that so many people have counted on for years.

"I have stated repeatedly that we must not change the rent laws in the middle of the game for tenants who have come to rely on rent control, which has been a part of the fabric of New York for generations. They are protected and the rules they have counted on will not change.

"I have said from the beginning that was my goal. It is now reality.

"I have said repeatedly that too many apartments have been kept vacant for too long because they were priced well under market value, which has only served to create shortages and stifle competition.

"This agreement fixes that situation by bringing three of four apartments to fair market levels, bringing countless units back into the rental pool so that more apartments are available for the middle class and bringing more fairness to New York State's housing market.

"We have insisted that those who create new housing must be assured that the heavy hand of government regulation does not choke off incentives or development in the future.

"By passing a law that specifically ensures that State government will not interfere in the housing market for the future, we have guaranteed that new affordable housing will finally be built in the city and throughout the state -- creating new construction, new jobs, new hope and new opportunity for all New Yorkers.

"By passing the toughest new criminal laws in the nation to crack down on dishonest landlords, tenants rights will be protected at historic new levels, as they should.

"Tonight's agreement is not perfect, but it goes a long way toward undoing what 50 years of too much government, too many regulations and too much government meddling has done to destroy the housing market in New York City. "We have won a great victory, a victory that can be shared by all New Yorkers.

"The coming years will prove that by unleashing the spirit of freedom in New York City's housing market, we will create one of the greatest booms of all time.

"The end result of today's agreement is simply more choice, more affordability, more availability of housing for working men and women throughout New York City, and great state.

"I want to thank all those who stood by the principle that it is time for fundamental, sweeping reform in the housing market. Today we have much to celebrate.

"In particular, I want to thank the editorial boards of the New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, Newsday and Westchester/Rockland Gannett for their steadfast commitment to change and support for the direction of our policies and programs.

"I want to thank the millions of New Yorkers who put principle above politics and helped to bring about this historic change and the beginning of a new era of housing in New York State."