Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Albany Wednesday to promote a property tax cut for New York City homeowners at a post-Hurricane Sandy conference sponsored by Governor Andrew Cuomo, where the sometimes-strained relationship between the two Democrats once again became a source of intrigue. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
ALBANY - When Mayor Bill de Blasio first came to Albany earlier this year, he was asking for a tax increase. In an ironic twist, he was asking for a tax cut this time around.
"I'm very proud today to talk about the property tax relief legislation that's being introduced into the legislature at my request," de Blasio said.
In January, the mayor asked Albany lawmakers and the governor for a tax on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten. He ended up getting the money, but not the tax.
This time, the mayor wants property tax relief for homeowners who rebuilt or made repairs to their homes after Hurricane Sandy. The difference this time is that Governor Andrew Cuomo supports what de Blasio is asking for.
"Because of the rebuilding, their assessment would go up, and therefore, their property tax would go up," de Blasio said. "In other words, the property would be treated under current tax law as an improved property, a more valuable property. Bang! They'd be hit with a tax increase. We want to make sure that doesn't happen."
The two Democrats shared a stage, and as they often do when they are together, spoke warmly about how long they go back as friends and colleagues.
"Bill and I met, we were just starting out, just having babies. They're going to college," Cuomo said. "So it's been a whole lifetime together."
However, when it came time to speak to reporters, signals seemed to get crossed. The press was told that de Blasio would speak first, followed by Cuomo. However, after waiting for several minutes for the mayor, Cuomo decided to go first, saying he had an event to get to in New York City that wasn't on his public schedule. Reporters, who were told that de Blasio would be available any minute, were left with the odd choice of whose press conference to cover.
The mayor downplayed any suggestions that he and the governor are not on the same page.
"I feel very good about the working relationship, very good about our communication, the consistency of our communication," de Blasio said.
There is no question that there have been tensions between de Blasio and Cuomo over pre-K, charter schools and the minimum wage, and while they both downplay those differences, every now and again, we are reminded that communication between the two camps isn't always as smooth as it's made out to be in public.