State Senate Approves Session's Final 'Big Ugly' Legislative Package

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state Senate passed a final deal between legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday night, 47–12.

Only a handful of Senators spoke on the bill while it was on the floor. Debate was not held.

The handful of Democrats who voted against the final deal did so for a host of reasons. Senator Gustavo Rivera said reforms to rent regulations and the 421-a tax abatement program don’t go far enough.

“We did tweak it a little bit,” Rivera said on the floor, “but there’s still hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that will not have a home.”

Get more details on the end of the legislative session on the State of Politics blog.

At least one Senator called for an end to 421-a, but Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein disagreed.

“We would not have build thousands and thousands of affordable units of housing in the city of New York if we didn’t have the 421-a program,” Klein said.

Klein says the reforms included in the final agreement help strengthen the program moving forward.

“I think it is a major, major improvement,” Klein said. “By and large, almost every piece of [Mayor Bill de Blasio’s] plan of improving 421-a is in this legislation.”

What’s not included in the bill is a long-term extender of mayoral control for New York City schools.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said during a press conference Thursday that a one-year extension was included to give lawmakers more time to take a closer look at mayoral control. But Senator Brad Hoylman was skeptical.

“Are we just showing the mayor of the city of New York who’s boss?” Hoylman said. “I don’t think anyone here would argue a one-year extender is a good policy.”

Senator Daniel Squadron also took the opportunity to point the finger at Senate Republicans on rent reform, saying the conference of mostly upstate and suburban members shouldn’t be calling the shots for an issue centered around residents in New York City.

“The real concern that I have on this is my colleagues who don’t represent very many or any rent regulated apartments who seem so bent on getting rid of rent regulations,” Squadron said. “Just leave us be – on behalf of 2.5 million New Yorkers.”

The Assembly is also expected to vote on the final deal at some point Thursday night, but without the bill on the floor its unclear when that will happen.

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