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Cuomo, Lawmakers Negotiate On Pre-K, Property Tax Relief For State Budget

The New York state Capitol in Albany (credit: Getty Images)

The New York state Capitol in Albany (credit: Getty Images)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders negotiated over property tax relief, charter schools and prekindergarten funding Monday – with a budget deadline looming in a week.

Leaders emerging from closed-door talks at the Capitol said they continued to make progress to get a deal by April 1. But they remained vague about what they were discussing and departed from the usual practice of all parties negotiating face-to-face together.

Cuomo met Monday with the Senate’s two leaders before meeting separately with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan.)

Senate Republican co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) had appeared irritated at Silver when he left negotiations abruptly Friday.

“Sometimes you accomplish more doing it separately,” Silver said. “Last Friday, the senator was agitated about what was discussed. It’s just easier to do that.”

There have been talks over how much money to devote to pre-K, a signature issue for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Lawmakers in Albany have been hammering out a deal to give de Blasio $540 million for universal pre-K, CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported earlier this month. But the Republican-controlled Senate refused to agree to de Blasio’s plan for a tax on the rich to fund it.

There also has been legislative resistance to Cuomo’s property tax relief plan, which would require localities to consolidate or share services for local homeowners to benefit. Cuomo kept up public lobbying for his proposal Monday by announcing more than 225 local officials supported his plan.

Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein said they were “slowly but surely” moving toward agreements on property tax relief, renter relief and pre-K.

The fate of some other policy provisions remained unclear.

Klein said they had not discussed the Dream Act, which would open state education aid to students in the country illegally. But Silver, who has made the measure a top legislative priority, said he had a “long discussion” with the governor about it.

On Monday of last week, the state senate voted down the Dream Act.

Sources have also told CBS 2’s Kramer that Cuomo is threatening to use the state budget to end another debate with de Blasio – with regard to charger schools.

Sources told CBS 2 the governor wants the mayor to settle three lawsuits brought by charter operator Eva Moskowitz, find space for Moskowitz’s three Success Academy charter schools de Blasio nixed, and restore $210 million in charter funding.

If the mayor does not act, source said, Cuomo and the Senate will use the state budget to protect charter schools – finding them both space and money.

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