June 23, 2015
Albany, NY

Video, Photos & Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces Framework Agreement With Legislative Leaders

TOP Video, Photos & Transcript: Governor Cuomo...

This afternoon, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a framework agreement has been reached with legislative leaders on major issues for the 2015 legislative session. The tentative agreement includes continued education reforms, cuts taxes and contains unprecedented protections for tenants.

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV-quality (h264, mp4) format here.

PHOTOS of the announcement are available on the Governor's Flickr page here.

AUDIO of the announcement is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is included below:

“Good afternoon. Thank you all very much for taking the time to come down. We have a framework of an agreement that the leaders are going to be presenting to their conference shortly and we wanted to run through the agreement with you first. I asked the leaders for consideration to have this press availability before they spoke to their conference because I have to excuse myself and attend one of my daughter’s graduations. I want to thank them very much for the courtesy of allowing this to precede the actual presentation to the conferences.

I’m excited. This is a very robust agreement, it is a comprehensive agreement, it includes continued education reforms, it cuts taxes and it is an unprecedented package that protects tenants. I will highlight several points, but again, the details will wait until the leaders speak to their respective conferences.

There will be a four year rent extension with increases in the decontrol threshold and what is called indexing to the rent guidelines board to increase the threshold over years. That is very important. We had tried to get that reform in 2011 and we were successful. There will also be increases in what is called the MCI, Major Capital Improvement threshold.

Before 2011, you should know, the pattern was to roll back rent protections every time there was a sunset. In 2011, we changed that pattern, actually increasing them, and this is the second time rent protections will actually be increased.

There will be a property tax rebate program which is part of this. It is targeted to Upstate New York and to the suburban communities for $1.3 billion dollars which is a significant property tax rebate program. It will mean hundreds of dollars to homeowners in Upstate New York. As you know, property taxes are the greatest tax in the State of New York. The property tax is the number one burden. FDR spoke about it back in his time. If you ask why people are leaving the State of New York, I believe the issue is property taxes. We have been trying to reduce it six ways from Sunday, property tax cap fighting for consolidation of local services. Because the state has been fiscally responsible, we are in a position to actually rebate money to homeowners, so I am very excited about that, as are the leaders.

We wanted additional resources and protection for nonpublic schools, we proposed the education tax credit as a vehicle to do that. The education tax credit would have provided about $150 million to nonpublic schools. In this agreement it will provide $250 million to nonpublic schools for what is called mandated services reimbursement. Mandated services currently are reimbursed to nonpublic schools. There has been a back log of non-reimbursed mandated services costs, but the bottom line is this will provide about $250 million to nonpublic schools.

Nonpublic schools are important because they manage about 400,000 students in this state. Everybody knows that you have schools that are closing, parochial schools that are closing. If we allow those schools to continue to close and those students start moving over to the public school system, you will place an impossible burden on the public school system. So managing both is very important, both for their individual sake as well as the collective sake. During the budget we did a number of increases to the public education system. As you remember, a six percent increase – $24 billion, more education funding for public schools than ever before, and this is the analog to the non-publics.

421-a is an affordable housing program. It will be extended for six months. Within those six months, the representatives of labor and representatives of the real estate community will be asked to come up with an agreement on prevailing wage. If they come up with an agreement on prevailing wage, the program will continue for four years, which is linked to the rent agreement which is four years. If they don’t come up with an agreement in six months the program will expire. So that is the affordable housing program.

Mayoral control in the City of New York will be extended for one year. The charter cap, which is a cap on the number of charter schools in the state will essentially be reconfigured so that you could have up to 50 new charter schools in Downstate New York and about 130 new charter schools in Upstate New York and they will be administered by both SUNY or SED, either institution could be the authorizing entity. SED will be required to disclose more information to parents. This was important to both houses. Senator Flanagan, as chair of the Education Department, had worked on this issue previously. Many parents have questions about what is happening with the teacher evaluation testing etcetera. It is hard to get answers. This will basically open up the black box that is SED and SED will give more information about questions, growth patterns, growth measures, etcetera, so parents have more information across the board.

We did not reach an agreement on something called Raise the Age which is a proposal that I had made in the State of the State. The executive will on its own raise the age of people in state prison. Right now 16- and 17-year olds are going to state prisons and that, I believe, is an intolerable situation. So by executive action we will take 16-and 17-year olds out of state prisons and put them in separate facilities which will be designed and managed by the Department of Corrections and OCFS. I have spent time in prisons and that is not an environment that is suitable for 16- and 17-year olds and let me leave it at that.

I had also proposed a special prosecutor for crimes involving public servants, who are nonelected officials. We worked very hard to come up with a special prosecutor law, we were not successful in coming up with a special prosecutor law. Therefore, I will do what I said I was going to do and will appoint the attorney general as a special prosecutor for a period of one year and do that by executive order. Next year we will continue to work on the special prosecutor law. I don’t believe this is the perfect alternative, but I believe it is the best alternative at this time so I will be taking that action.

In closing, this was a very difficult year. There were extraordinary developments. I don’t think you can find another year in the state’s history where you saw the number of changes and the major changes that were made during the legislative year, the change in leadership, etcetera. It was almost unimaginable to have this kind of change in this period of time. You wound up with two new leaders – both brought in at the seventh inning, if you will, who were handed the ball and were told to pitch.

It is a significant transition to become a leader of a conference rather than a member of a conference and the vultures were circling. Sometimes we have an unhealthy appetite for bad news, and there was all sorts of speculation about how this would work or not work, and Albany was descending into dysfunction and chaos. I’m glad to report that the exact opposite has happened. Both leaders stepped up and performed.

Michael Useem wrote a book once called “The Leadership Moment,” that basically said that leadership is a function of the moment, it is born of the moment. And these are two gentlemen in this case who were called to rise to the occasion and were called on short notice. I’ve been in that room many times negotiation budgets and negotiating bills. I can tell you that they both were tenacious for their interests and they have very different interests, but they were also prudent enough to arrive at a conclusion that allows enough mutuality to actually make an agreement and that’s what we have done. Kudos go to them both, and I mean that sincerely. I think they did an extraordinary job. They also had a very abled team that they worked with – Jim Yates with the Assembly, Robert Mujica with the Senate. My team I want to thank – Jim Malatras and Secretary Bill Mulrow.

Again, this is in-concept. It has to be presented to the conference but it is a very robust agenda, with very big items. We talked about maybe doing a scaled-down agenda because it would be easier considering the circumstances. Both leaders rejected that and said we have big problems and big issues to deal with and we’re going to address them the way they need to be addressed and that’s what this agreement represents. This is a major step forward in terms of tax policy – a $1.3 billion tax cut, a major step forward in terms of tenant protection, so it really is a job well done.

They now have to close this and I’m going to a graduation, so my piece is done. And with that, let me turn it over to the Senate leader, Senator John Flanagan.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418