Cuomo, State Lawmakers Announce Framework Deal
The Legislature’s top leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a framework agreement “in concept” for range of outstanding issues including rent control, the 421a tax abatement and mayoral control of New York City schools.
The state’s cap on property taxes was extended for four years, as was rent control.
In a blow to Mayor Bill de Blasio, mayoral control of New York City school was extended for only 12 months, while the cap on charter schools will be raised by 50 in the city and 130 elsewhere in the state.
The mayor had sought a permanent extension of mayoral control, but later settled for a three-year expiration backed by Assembly Democrats.
“The outcome of the negotiation was the best we could do was one year,” Cuomo said.
Lawmakers and Cuomo also announced a $1.3 billion property tax rebate program for the upstate and suburban counties.
The education tax credit — which was being pushed by private and parochial school backers, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan — was not agreed to, either. Instead, lawmakers and Cuomo announced a $250 million reimbursement program for mandated services at private and parochial schools.
Details on the agreement were scarce, however.
Both Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan were yet to brief their conference members on the details.
Cuomo made the announcement alongside Heastie and Flanagan in a hastily arranged Red Room news conference at the Capitol.
Whether any details will change remains to be seen. Cuomo is leaving Albany to attend a graduation party for his daughter, leaving lawmakers at the Capitol to be briefed on the details.
For both leaders, Cuomo sought to frame the deal as a good one.
“I believe the rent package that he has obtained is a major step forward,” Cuomo said of Heastie. “You have certain voices that say rent regulations should just go away. That’s not going to happen any time soon. But he has done a extraordinary job that addresses the entire spectrum of the problem.”
The rent control issue was the subject of an intense focus by Assembly Democrats, who sought an end to vacancy decontrol, which was not ultimately part of the final agreement.
“We’re always going to be about compromises,” Heastie said. “We stake out our positions early on and do the best that we can to get it done.”
No deal was reached on criminal justice reform measures such as raising the age of criminal responsibility and dealing with police brutality cases.
Cuomo will go the executive order route on both. The governor will move 16 and 17-year-old offenders to alternative facilities, while he will appoint Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for a year a special prosecutor to handle certain cases involving police-related deaths.
Other issues were pushed further down the road.
The 421a tax abatement was extended for six months, while labor groups sort out a prevailing wage component. If a prevailing wage measure is agreed to, the abatement is extended for four years. Without an agreement on the prevailing wage, the measure will lapse.
For Senate Republicans, the tax rebate was a key component for their upstate and suburban constituents.
“The tax rebate is real to real people again,” Flanagan said. “That’s something that I think people are clamoring for.”
The framework signaled the first real light at the end of a long tunnel for the end of the session, which has been extended a week after it was due to conclude after rent control laws lapsed briefly and lawmakers agreed to a temporary extension that lapses tonight at midnight.
The last six months have been astoundingly unpredictable at the Capitol as both legislative leaders at the start of the year — Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos — were ousted from their posts following their arrests on corruption charges.
Cuomo, who has dealt with personal issues starting with the death of his father in January and later the breast cancer diagnosis of his girlfriend Sandra Lee, acknowledged the challenging the year in his remarks.
“It is a very robust agenda, with very big items,” Cuomo said. “It really is a job well done. They just have to close it.”
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