ALBANY - With bipartisan support, the State Senate Monday easily passed a measure that would cap annual local property-tax increases at a maximum of 2 percent - giving Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo a significant victory and putting pressure on the Assembly to follow suit.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), the chamber approved the measure by a 45-17 vote, with 13 Democrats joining all 32 Republicans in favor.

"With this bill, we are keeping our commitment to provide real property tax relief to homeowners across the state who are sick and tired of paying the highest property taxes in the nation," Skelos said.

Cuomo, a Democrat, had made a property-tax cap a key part of his campaign and his first State of the State address.

By partnering with Republicans who control the Senate, Cuomo tried to create momentum for a cap and shift the focus to the Democrat-led Assembly - which has been far cooler to the idea.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has said that he conceptually agrees the state should enact a tax cap, but has stopped short of saying he favors Cuomo's bill. Monday, Silver continued to voice general support for the governor while qualifying his backing a bit. "I believe we will come to a common ground with the governor and Senate on an appropriate property-tax cap," Silver said.

Cuomo's plan would limit tax increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation - now about 1.5 percent - whichever is less. The cap could be overridden only by a vote of the local governing board and a 60 percent majority in a local referendum. The only exceptions would be payments for capital construction and legal settlements.

All nine Long Island senators - all Republicans - voted for the cap.

Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said lawmakers had no choice but to pass a tax cap after measures designed to lower property levies failed, including limiting the number of school budget votes.

"For those who say we are moving precipitously, I say the time has long come that we do this measure," LaValle said.

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