NY lawmakers approve tax cap, rent controls

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(AP) - Detailed legislation to establish astatewide property tax cap, continue New York City rent controlsand challenge unwieldy state mandates was approved Friday night bythe state Legislature.

The property tax provision in the bill approved Friday night bythe Senate and Assembly would generally limit annual tax increasesto 2 percent or the inflation rate. It will take effect for the2012 fiscal year for local governments and for the 2012-13 schoolbudget year. "New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the country, andthey're sick and tired of having their taxes rise year after year,sometimes in double digits," said Senate Majority Leader DeanSkelos, a Long Island Republican.

For school districts, the 2 percent cap may be exceeded with 60percent of a public vote. For local governments, the cap may beexceeded with the approval of 60 percent of the governing body.

The cap would sunset at the end of 2016, unless rent regulationlaws are extended, in which case the cap would continue as long asrent regulation laws remain in effect.

The 146-page bill codified agreements among legislative leadersand Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore for four more years the expiringcity rent controls on roughly a million apartments housing some 2.5million tenants.

It raises the thresholds for rent and tenant income that allowlandlords to deregulate apartments. The rent ceiling will rise from$2,000 to $2,500. Eligible tenant incomes will increase from$175,000 to $200,000.

A new mandate relief council will review municipal and schooldistrict complaints about burdensome regulations. A two-thirdscouncil vote would refer them to the governor for repeal ormodification.

The Senate voted 57-5 for the bill. The Assembly approved it114-15.

Some legislators said they wanted stronger rent protections in acity that's becoming increasingly unaffordable for many.

Legislature extends NYC rent control law

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