“You do wonder who is writing it,” he added.
Legislative leaders emphasized that they were not backing off from taxing the wealthy, a fact that did appease supporters of the pied-à-terre tax. But they remained disappointed at the apparent ease with which the real estate industry was able to steer the conversation from one policy to another, demonstrating its outsize influence in Albany, even with Democrats in control.
Michael Kink, the executive director of the Strong Economy for All coalition, a group of unions and community organizations, said a pied-à-terre tax “zeros in on the global ultrarich,” while a transfer tax on expensive properties could also affect families in gentrifying areas of Brooklyn or Queens looking to sell their longtime homes.
“If I had my druthers, it would be to do the pied-à-terre tax because it does target nonresidents,” said Ron Deutsch, the executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a union-backed think tank.
But others said the argument for a pied-à-terre tax over a transfer tax, for the sake of political optics, proved that the latter was a better idea.
“I’m not sure what the goal of the pied-à-terre was except to say, we don’t like people coming into the city and having a house they don’t stay in all the time,” said Martha Stark, the city’s former finance commissioner.
“I know it has a little bit of appeal in that it’s taxing people who are überrich,” she said. “I just don’t see this as being a feasible and implementable tax in terms of how it was structured.”
Still, Mr. Hoylman said he would claim an increased transfer tax as a victory.
“This would never have happened last year,” when the Senate was controlled by Republicans, he said.