Albany budget deal disappoints Queens

Budgets are made from broken promises, political compromises and glaring omissions.

The state’s fiscal 2016 version is no exception.

For the fifth year in a row Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to cajole, the Legislature into agreeing on an on-time budget by April 1, but fierce debate over education reforms carried the haggling into the wee hours past the midnight deadline.

Lost in the process this year were several proposals dear to the heart of Queens: the Dream Act to help undocumented immigrants fund their education, an increase in the minimum wage and a brake on galloping property taxes.

The governor faced insurmountable resistance to the Dream Act and a hike in the minimum wage from the state Republicans. His proposal to offer a tax credit to offset the steady rise in property taxes was pulled from the budget in the horse trading that went on in Albany.

State Sen. Jose Peralta, a Jackson Heights Democrat, has championed the Dream Act with the strong support of other Queens lawmakers who represent the nation’s most ethnically diverse borough. The failure of the act to make it into the budget was greeted with deep disappointment across Queens and in City Hall.

Another bitter pill for the borough was the omission of the minimum wage from the spending plan. On the table was a hike Cuomo had proposed to $11.50 an hour for New York City from the current level of $8.75, but it was crushed by the Republican-controlled Senate.

. Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a staunch proponent of raising the minimum wage as a way to narrow the income inequality gap in the city.

On the win side, iCuomo pulled out a deal n the final stretch on teacher evaluations and tenure to be granted after four years of effective ratings. Struggling schools will be given one or two years to improve.

The governor also managed to shoe horn a watered-down version of his ethics reform into the $142 billion budget. But in the long shadow cast by indicted Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other Albany corruption scandals, it looked pretty flimsy.

State lawmakers will have to be more transparent about outside income, identify their clients and keep records to verify their travel expenses.

And then there is the curious case of the yacht tax, which caps the sales tax on any boat – however grand – at $230,000.

Lift the ceiling to $1 million and think of the trickle down possibilities.

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