WASHINGTON -- The New York Senate last week approved a major expansion of authority for cities and counties to lease-purchase large building projects so they can more easily meet mandates handed down by the state to build new prisons, schools, and hospitals.

State law currently prevents municipalities from leasing anything but small government purchases, such as equipment, by limiting municipal lease contract terms to 15 years and prohibiting pooled leasing arrangements, said Joe Glazer of the New York State Association of Counties.

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