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De Blasio Continues Push for Pre-K at Rally in Harlem With Sharpton

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to energize his base as it fights for a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-K. The pre-K campaign, though, seems destined to fall flat given the lack of support from key lawmakers in Albany. Grace Rauh filed the following report.

The mayor rallied in Harlem Saturday for his pre-K tax plan.

“If you’re not getting early childhood education right then don't be surprised when things don't work out on the back end,” said de Blasio.

The mayor needs Albany lawmakers to sign off on his proposal to raise taxes on New Yorkers who make more than $500,000 a year to pay for pre-K and after school programs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has offered the city a blank check to pay for pre-K, but the mayor and his supporters say they are skeptical the state funding will be enough.

“I am not ready to settle for crumbs or table scraps or bandaids,” said First Lady Chirlaine McCray.

Rev. Al Sharpton hosted the event at the National Action Network. He says Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned for universal pre-K and should not back down.

“He ran on those things. He was elected on those things and he should keep his word on those things,” said Sharpton.

Outside the National Action Network, supporters of the mayor's pre-K plan asked passers-by to sign their petitions. They are also recruiting volunteers to help the campaign.

“Everyone in Albany, and there are plenty of good people in Albany, they need to hear your voices now,” said de Blasio.

Afterwards, the mayor said he was very hopeful that by the budget deadline, something “good was going to happen.”

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