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De Blasio Rallies in Albany for Support of Pre-K Plan, Meets With Cuomo

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ALBANY - Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo met in Albany Tuesday to discuss some key issues regarding city schools, including universal pre-kindergarten and charter schools.

Cuomo and de Blasio met behind closed doors for more than two hours, but when the mayor emerged, it did not seem like he had made any progress in convincing the governor to get on board with his plan to raise taxes on New Yorkers who make more than $500,000 a year to pay for universal pre-K and after-school programs.

De Blasio made it clear that there did not seem to be any promises made when it came to getting behind his tax plan, but he insisted that it is still the best one on the table.

"I don't want to get into the details of a private conversation," de Blasio said. "I think we could say we had a very productive conversation. We are talking about the fact that we have common ground on getting real progress on pre-K and after-school, and that's a good thing. I keep saying that tax is the best and most reliable way to get it done, but the bottom line is, when you know you have some common goals, and we clearly have common goals here, and we're clearly communicating, as this meeting indicates, and we've been in constant contact over the last weeks and months, and our teams have been as well. That's a good thing. That's a healthy thing."

That plan was certainly the plan for the day for de Blasio, who was trying to build support for his tax plan.

Earlier in the day, he attended a rally with about 1,000 supporters at the Washington Avenue Albany in Albany, just a few blocks down from the state Capitol Building.

De Blasio promised an enthusiastic crowd that they would win the debate.

"The facts are on our side. The people are on our side. Now, we have to get Albany on our side," De Blasio said.

Many of those in attendance were union members.

"We want to support the mayor because we know that in our neighborhoods, that our kids are getting left behind," said one attendee.

The event was much smaller than the rally for charter schools on the steps of the Capitol. The mayor had previously insisted that the charter school rally wouldn't take away from his message, but it overshadowed it nonetheless, despite his arguing otherwise.

"The main event continues to be pre-K and after school, and this is what people have been talking about for quite a while," he said.

With the state budget due at the end of the month, time is running out for de Blasio, but he does not seem interested in playing political hardball. When asked if his endorsement of the governor's re-election bid is contingent on his support for the pre-K tax, the mayor was quick to say that he is supporting him.

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