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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Albany's "Three men in a room," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, have come to a three-way agreement on a number of priorities for the end of the 2015-16 legislative session.

The three-way agreement includes extending the property tax cap and cutting taxes for homeowners, strengthening and extending rent laws in New York City and other metropolitan areas, and investing in education.

The deal-in-principal, announced Tuesday, would extend the property tax cap for an additional four years. Since its enactment in 2011, the real property tax cap has dramatically reduced the growth in local property taxes. As compared with the 10-year period prior to 2011, the real property tax cap has reduced the rate of growth in local taxes by nearly 60 percent. As a result, the cap has saved the typical homeowner $800 since its enactment. This savings is expected to increase to $2,100 by 2017, according to the governor's office.

The agreement also includes $1.3 billion in property tax cuts for homeowners.

On education, the agreement will increase funding of $250 million to reimburse private schools for the costs of performing State mandated services and the CAP program, require the disclosure of state exam questions and answers, the creation of a student content review committee by the State Education Department, and a review of growth model.

The deal will also extend the rent laws in the New York metropolitan region for four years, and make them retroactive to June 15. It will also increase and index the high-rent threshold to the applicable rent guidelines board, making it more difficult for units to be removed from rent regulation because it will allow for the high-rent watermark to float based on the rent guidelines board increases. It will increase civil harassment penalties by approximately $1,000, and limit the vacancy bonus provided to landlords on tenants who receive preferential rent as a way to stop the “drain” on these units.

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