We need rent forgiveness now.
A new law banning residential evictions in New York State until May 1 temporarily stops the bleeding, but it's like putting a band-aid on a wound that requires major surgery.
Rather than suspend rent payments, why not forgive them entirely until the COVID crisis ends? That's what State Senator Michael Gianaris of Astoria proposed when the pandemic struck last March.
He introduced a bill to forgive rent payments for residential tenants suffering financial hardship and mortgage payments for distressed landlords for 90 days.
His bill, which wasn't passed, is even more relevant now, but should extend the time period and add more protections.
I propose that rent forgiveness should last until September of 2021, and that landlords get forgiveness for property taxes along with mortgage payments for the next nine months.
By that time, enough New Yorkers will be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. People can return to work, businesses can reopen and our economy will begin to recover.
Democrats, holding a super-majority of seats in the State Senate and Assembly, can easily overcome any GOP opposition and override a possible veto by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
I urge all Queens legislators in Albany to support this measure. If you agree, tell them how you feel.
Kew Gardens Hills