2 percent property tax cap remains sticking point for state budget

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There are only two weeks to go before the state budget is due, but there remain numerous unresolved issues, including making a 2 percent property tax cap permanent.

Paul Wentz, of Huntington, says something has to be done about Long Island's high property taxes, which was the aim of a tax cap passed in 2011. It limits the tax hikes that school districts and local governments can impose to 2 percent a year. That law needs to be renewed periodically, but now there's a move to make it permanent.

The state Senate has approved the permanent cap; the state Assembly has not.

Suburban lawmakers say there's been some pushback from legislators who represent New York City.

"I think they're looking for leverage on other issues, such as rent control, to be able to get what they want," says state Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

The tax cap is popular among homeowners, but school officials have complained that through the years it's made it difficult for them to add new programs or even fund some existing programs.

Joe Dragone, assistant superintendent for Roslyn schools, says that while the cap has been beneficial in many ways, he says it can always be unfair to school districts. He says anything that's out of the school district's control, like pension costs, should be excluded from the cap.

The state budget is due by April 1. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will not sign it unless lawmakers make permanent the 2 percent tax cap.

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