Lawmakers, tenant groups denounce Albany's rent regulations deal

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Dave Evans is in the studio with the details. (WABC)

Lawmakers in Albany reached the framework of a deal to extend rent regulation laws earlier this week, but not everyone -- particularly tenants -- are happy with the proposed agreement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that legislators had agreed on a four-year extension of rent regulations for more than two million tenants and for property tax rebates for homeowners upstate and on Long Island.

"We have a framework of an agreement," he said. "It is robust and includes continued education reforms, cuts taxes, and protects tenants."

But many disagree, and they let the governor know it Wednesday.

"Albany should take this deal and shove it," City Councilman Jumaane Williams said.

In front of Cuomo's office, there was outrage and protest over the deal, after the Mayor Bill de Blasio and tenant groups had asked for much more.

Now, there is fear that thousands of rent-controlled apartments will soon hit market rate and be available only to the rich.

"I want to join everyone in saying, one, that Albany has failed us," Williams said. "And the governor apparently lied about what he wanted in this deal."

As the chanting continued, Cuomo's team said the governor actually made rent laws better for tenants. The governor hailed the agreement, made in the same session that saw the assembly speaker indicted for corruption, and then a couple months later, the same thing with the senate leader.

"With everything, all the changes that were made, that you have two leaders who have reached this agreement, I think is extraordinary," Cuomo said. "So to me, it really is a great day for the state."

Still, Democrats in Albany are calling the agreement a rotten deal for the city. The mayor simply said he's still hoping for more.

"It ain't over til it's over in Albany, so we're going to wait and see what the final product is," he said.

De Blasio was asked several times about rent and whether his relationship with Cuomo has worsened, and he wouldn't say a thing about Cuomo. But he conspicuously praised only liberal Democrats in the assembly and their new leader, Carl Heastie.

"I want to really thank Speaker Heastie and the assembly for the very constructive role they have been playing," he said.

The deal includes a one-year extension of mayoral control of New York City public schools and would provide $250 million in state aid to private schools.

Heastie and Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joined Cuomo for the announcement. The legislative leaders still have to get approval from their respective conferences.

Heastie expects the Assembly's majority Democrats to approve extending rent control for four years. He and Cuomo say it will tighten tenant protections.

The agreement likewise continues the property tax cap.

"This is a major step forward of in terms of tax policy, $1.3 billion tax cut," Cuomo said. "This is a major step forward in terms of tenant protection."

Additionally, there was no agreement on a special prosecutor law for investigating police cases, so Cuomo will appoint Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to be special prosecutor for police incidents for one year.

There was also no agreement on Raise the Age, which could take 16- and 17-year old inmates out of prison, so Cuomo said he will take them out of state prison on executive action.

"The executive will on its own raise the age of people in state prison," he said. "Right now, 16- and 17-year-olds are going to state prisons, and I think that in 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."

The Legislature, which was scheduled to adjourn for the year last week, was instead scheduled to return to Albany later Tuesday to work on unfinished issues.

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