By Tom Precious
ALBANY -- Negotiators are closing in on a deal to provide $350 checks to taxpayers with at least child in New York with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 per year, sources at the Capitol say.
The deal would call for a flat, $350 check -- in other words, not on a sliding scale -- to all earners within that range. When the checks would be mailed is uncertain, though, given past property rebate checks, the early money might be about, say, October every year just before the November elections.
It is uncertain how much what is being billed as a middle class family tax break, pushed heavily by Senate Republicans, will cost the state.
The budget deal is also going to include extending a program to encourage rehabilitation of historic residential and commercial properties in New York -- an effort that is of significant benefit to upstate communities given that the tax break is targeted to economically struggling areas.
There is also talk of giving broad new powers to the state education commissioner to impose teacher evaluation plans on school districts that cannot negotiate deals with their teachers unions, an issue currently unresolved in New York City.
The $350 check program, which would kick in next year, would be eligible to taxpayers with children between the ages of 4 and 18.