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'Big Ugly' deal will include more LI homeowners in tax break (Updated)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Capitol in

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Capitol in Albany on March 18, 2015. Photo Credit: AP

ALBANY - (Updates with comment from Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan)

The Legislature will soon start voting on its "big ugly" end-of-session final deal that will include a property tax break for homeowners on Long Island with household incomes of up to $275,000, said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

One of the late additions is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's inclusion of a measure that will empower the governor to preside over weddings, said Heastie (D-Bronx). Heastie said he doesn't know why Cuomo, who has three daughters, wants the power to conduct weddings.

"The governor wants to marry people," Heastie said.

Heastie said the tax break will be higher for lower-income families as part of a "circuit breaker" pushed by Cuomo and Heastie.

The property tax break -- worth hundreds of dollars to most qualified homeowners outside New York City -- will be dispersed in the form of a check next year before Election Day for legislators. The tax break in subsequent years will be provided through tax breaks in tax returns, he said.

The state's cap of 2-percent growth in property taxes will also be extended for four years under the bill to be voted on Thursday afternoon into the night, Heastie said.

"This is real relief for real taxpayers with real results," said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, whose conference pushed for the tax measure.

He said the state will provide $900 million in relief next year in the form of rebate checks. The benefit will ramp up to $1.3 billion in the fourth year of the $3.1 billion tax relief program.

No estimates for typical savings for a homeowner had yet been released.

Flanagan (R-East Northport) said several education reforms will include providing parents and teachers more input into testing and a review by the state Board of Regents of the Common Core that has vexed some students and parents. The national program has raised academic standards, but teachers unions and some parents complained schools and students weren't adequately prepared for the tests under Common Core used to measure student progress.

The New York City rent control measure that dominated negotiations also includes a new element. Apartments with rents of up to $2,700 a month will be included and that ceiling will be indexed to inflation in following years, he said.

"You always want to do better, but the reality is this is a bicameral Legislature," Heastie said.

"Everybody wanted to add a little bit to the soup," said Flanagan, explaining the last three days of negotiations after a deal was announced by leaders.

"I think it's a good package," Flanagan said.


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