Hochul OKs East End real estate proposal but voter approval still needed

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Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that will allow a new real estate sales tax to fund affordable housing programs in the five East End towns.

The Peconic Bay region community housing act, co-sponsored by Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), would levy an additional half-percent real estate transfer tax.

Voters in the five East End towns — East Hampton, Shelter Island, Southampton, Southold and Riverhead — will still have to approve ballot measures to enact the tax for their towns.

Variations of the bill have been floated since 2003, but the initiative did not gain momentum until Democrats took over the Senate in 2019, Thiele said. A similar bill passed both houses in 2019 but was vetoed by former Gov. Andrew M….

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