ALBANY -- Schools in New York are getting more flexibility under the state's property-tax cap for the coming fiscal year.
The tax cap limit will be 2 percent for the fiscal year that starts July 1 for the state's roughly 700 school districts, the state Comptroller's Office said Friday.
The 2 percent limit also applies to 10 cities that have a July 1 fiscal year, including Buffalo, Corning, Rochester, Syracuse, White Plains and Yonkers.
The higher limit is good news for the municipalities and schools who have had limited room under the tax cap in recent years.
The cap limit -- which is either 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower -- has been near zero for the past two years.
Two years ago, the cap was 0.12 percent, and it is 1.26 percent in the current fiscal year.
A 2 percent cap was the norm for the first several years after it was installed by Gov. Andrew and the state Legislature in 2011.
But 2 percent limit will be the first since 2013, according to the Comptroller's Office.
In November, schools learned that pension costs for New York schools are expected to soar as much as 12 percent in the coming fiscal year, which will strain their finances.
But the tax cap allows for some exemptions, including a portion of high pension costs.
All local governments and schools need to either stay under the cap or seek an override.
For municipalities, an override requires a majority vote of their local governing bodies.
But for schools, an override is much more difficult: It requires a 60 percent vote at the May budget referendum.
So each year, only a few school districts are successful in overriding the cap.
Overriding the tax cap also can hit homeowners' wallets.
Several tax-rebate programs have been tied to local governments and schools staying under the cap, including the current rebate-check program.