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The Assembly Democrats plan is very similar to Governor Cuomo’s original tax cap proposal, which included a 2% across the board property tax cap for schools and local governments. But it would exempt some costs, like some pension expenses that are rising beyond the control of the school or local government. The cap would also come with a time limit, Speaker Silver says he’d like to sunset after a few years.
“In the ideal world we should probably have a four or five year look at it,” said Silver. “See where adjustments have to be made, see what we are doing, what the impact has been.”
Assembly Speaker Silver says other major policies have expiration dates, like New York City’s rent regulations, which are due to once again expire June 15th. Silver says the two issues will be tied
“These two are inextricably linked,” said Silver.
At a news conference called by Governor Cuomo to announce the break though, Cuomo says he agrees with the tenets of the Assembly bill, but says there are still a number of details that need to be nailed down. For instance, he says there’s no “exact” time limit agreed to for the sunset provision. And says no one should think that his acquiescence to a sun set provision means the tax cap would be temporary.
“If this was a temporary law, I’d be against a temporary law,” said Cuomo. “This is a law, like rent regulations which will come up for re-evaluation, recalibration on a periodic basis.”
Another major sticking point is disagreement over how to proceed with New York City’s rent regulations. Cuomo and Assembly Democrats want the laws extended and strengthened to include more protections for tenants. They also want the two sun sets, for the property tax cap and the rent regulations to be linked to the same time frame.
Republicans who control the State Senate have said they want to see a simple extender, with no changes to the law.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who also attended the announcement, says only that he agrees with the “broad parameters” of the Assembly bill, but predicted progress soon.
“We are going to have a property tax cap and we will have rent regulations extended before the end of the session,” Skelos said.
Afterward, Skelos says he wants to “tweak” the bill to improve it, and in a statement, said he agrees with “95%” of the Democrats’ measure.
The conceptual agreement was praised by business groups, including the state’s Business Council, who say it will “dramatically improve the business climate in the state”.
But the tentative agreement is criticized by those who will have to craft budgets within the limits of the tax cap. The New York State School Boards Association says without relief from some costly government mandates on health care pensions, and teacher discipline, schools can’t stay within the limits. The President of the New York State United Teachers, Richard Ianuzzi, says New York would be “devastated” by the tax cap, following three straight years of deep school funding cuts.