Mayor Bill de Blasio is ramping up his campaign to win approval in Albany for a tax hike to pay for universal pre-kindergarten, and he is turning up his nose at the idea of accepting state funding for program, which is putting him on a collision course with Governor Andrew Cuomo. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Standing side by side with labor leaders Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled down on his proposal to create universal pre-kindergarten in New York City.
He is not interested in just any funding for his pre-k plan, though. He is demanding that a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers be enacted to pay for the program.
"We have a goal. We believe in this goal. We believe it's the right thing to do. We are sticking to this goal," he said. "We're not going to bargain against ourselves. We're not going to water down our goal. There's a very specific reason why. This is dedicated funding."
The mayor said he does not want to see funding set aside for pre-k in the general state budget.
"If there's other resources available in Albany, I assure you, we have plenty of other needs for them," he said.
He is arguing that general budget dollars are subject to budget cuts, and that his tax hike would be protected from belt-tightening measures.
The only problem is that Governor Andrew Cuomo is focused on cutting taxes, not raising them.
"He has a vision for state taxes, and I respect that vision," de Blasio said. "We're talking about the ability of the people of New York City to tax ourselves. This is about city taxes, not state taxes."
The governor said it would be premature for him weigh in on the plan.
"It's a broader conversation with the legislature, once we all identify the full agenda for the year, the full sources for the year, where are they on this tax cut proposal," Cuomo said. "So it's a bigger conversation."
De Blasio's plan would raise taxes on New Yorkers making more than $500,000 per year. For families who earn between $500,000 and $1 million, their tax bill would increase by an average of $973 annually.
De Blasio may soon be making the case for his pre-k tax plan to Cuomo in person. He is traveling to Albany on Wednesday to attend the governor's State of the State address.
Web Extra: Watch the full press conference
TWC News: Mayor, Union Leaders Vow to Pass Tax For Universal Pre-K
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