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State Senate leader insisting on permanent tax cap

ALBANY — A statewide cap on property tax growth that polls show is a top issue for New Yorkers appeared to be in trouble as the Senate and Assembly strongly disagreed on whether a cap should be permanent.

Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos said Tuesday he is insisting on making any cap permanent, while Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has repeatedly called for it to expire, so its effects on schools and local government could be examined. That would require future legislatures and governors to reconsider caps.

A June 13 Siena College poll found the tax cap was by far the most important issue for New York voters, far ahead of ethics reform and the third top issue, legalization of gay marriage.

The cap proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced twice as a done deal, would limit local property tax growth to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The cap could be overridden if 60 percent of a school district’s voters approve.

The measure is tied to extending New York City rent control, which is also the subject of continuing closed-door negotiations.

The Senate introduced an amendment Monday night with some new criteria on rent control that also appeared to make the legislation uncertain.