Legislature will vote on budget deal

The state Legislature is expected to adopt a nearly $140 billion budget that includes some tax breaks for businesses and homeowners, and a 5 percent increase in school aid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement on the deal Friday night into Saturday. Voting is expected today for the budget plan for the new fiscal year that starts on April 1.

Under the deal, state spending is set to increase by about 2 percent, according to the governor’s office.

The budget will appropriate $1.5 billion to create a new property tax rebate for homeowners over a three-year period, which Cuomo says will help relieve New York’s high property taxes. Whether or not homeowners receive that money is conditional on local government’s following a set of guidelines. In the first year, local governments would have to stay within the 2 percent tax cap.

Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said the new state budget deal is giving local governments “lots of incentives.

“By pushing to cut property taxes and smartly investing in our schools, Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Legislature have placed New York on a path for growth and success,” Rabideau wrote in a prepared statement. “This budget agreement delivers important tax relief for homeowners and businesses as well as a major funding increase to transform our schools. I applaud all involved for their hard work in getting to this point.”

Overall, statewide school aid went up by $1.1 billion. Universal pre-kindergarten will be funded by $1.5 billion over a five-year period. Charter schools also saw an increase in funding over a three-year period and were made eligible for pre-K funding.

The budget would ban unpopular standardized testing for young children under the Common Core State Standards.

The deal also includes a $2 billion Smart Schools bond act to go before voters in November, for school technology.

The Environmental Protection Fund is set to recieve $162 million in appropriations, which is a $9 million increase over the current funding level.