ALBANY -- In the end, New York lawmakers postponed or abandoned some of the highest-profile issues at the state Capitol while taking care of just the "must do" legislation in a session marked by political upheaval.
They did keep the rent-control law from expiring, extending it for four years along with the statewide property tax cap. But letting rent control expire, which affects 1 million apartments in New York City and its suburbs, including Nassau County, was never politically likely, legislators said.
The final agreement between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders was even more noticeable for what was omitted or fixed temporarily.ColumnCuomo, pols reach deals on property taxesStoryState to give nonpublic schools $250M boostStoryDe Blasio: 'It ain't over 'til it's over in Albany'
It didn't include the governor's initiative to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 or his No. 1 priority of the last few weeks: a tax credit for donations to private schools. An initiative to allow children of immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for state-college grants, the so-called Dream Act backed by Cuomo and legislative Democrats, fell by the wayside earlier in the session.
Republican-backed changes to gun-control laws also failed. Lawmakers also postponed settling the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's capital plan.
Temporary patches were applied to the issues of mayoral control of New York City schools (extended for just one year) and changing the grand jury process for deadly police-civilian clashes (Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will be appointed special prosecutor in such cases, but only for one year).
Somewhat similarly, lawmakers agreed to only continue "421-a," a controversial tax break for developers for six months. The tax break, along with the rent-control law, has been linked to corruption indictments that toppled the leaders of the Senate and Assembly earlier this year and threw the legislative session into disarray. Cuomo and lawmakers passed the issue over to labor unions and developers: if the two sides agree on prevailing wage issues, the program will be extended to 2019. If not, it will expire.
A push to raise the minimum wage -- backed by Cuomo and Democrats -- fizzled. Instead, Cuomo hand-picked a wage board to consider raising the minimum wage only for fast-food workers to $15 per hour, which could become effective later this summer.
Still, Cuomo touted the agreement with lawmakers as "very robust" and said it provided "unprecedented" agreements for tenants. He said he was taking administrative action in areas (police-civilian clashes, age of criminal responsibility) where political consensus couldn't be found.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has said the compromise was necessary "because last time I checked nobody gets everything they want in government."
But activist groups on many issues weren't satisfied.
Tenants groups called the rent extension "lousy." Private-school backers said a $250 million increase in funding, presented as a consolation prize, wouldn't be as effective as the lost tax credit.
"Raise the Age" supporters said they were "outraged" and "dismayed" at the failure of the effort and saw the Cuomo's administrative measure to begin moving current 16- and 17-year-old prisoners out of adult jail only as a stopgap step.
"This is by no means 'raising the age,' " said the group Families Together. "Inaction is a decision . . . this year, the governor made the wrong choice."