De Blasio, Cuomo meet in Albany about pre-K - New York News

De Blasio, Cuomo meet in Albany about pre-K

Posted: Updated:

MICHAEL HILL | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shared a backslapping hug with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and told lawmakers they had an obligation to allow a tax hike on the city's wealthier residents as he continued pressing for his universal prekindergarten proposal at the state Capitol on Monday.

De Blasio needs Albany's OK before the city can approve the tax to fund his signature proposal. But Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, has been cool to an election-year tax increase and it was not clear whether the state Legislature would consent. De Blasio used his appearance before a state budget hearing Monday to argue that Albany has the obligation to honor the "city's right to self-determination" by letting taxes on the wealthy be increased.

"We're not asking Albany to raise the state income tax by a single penny to pay for universal pre-K and afterschool programs in New York City," de Blasio told lawmakers. "We're simply asking Albany to allow New York City to tax itself."

De Blasio released a report Monday saying the pre-K program would reach 53,000 children who need it by September and up to 73,000 by the next year. The new mayor says a small increase in the tax rates on New York City residents who make $500,000 or more annually is the only steady, reliable way to cover the $340 million annual cost. Cuomo, stressing his support for statewide universal pre-K, wants to fund it with existing money in the budget.

De Blasio's tax lobbying comes at an unwelcome time for Cuomo, who is promoting a broad tax relief program that includes politically popular property tax freezes. But both men played down suggestions of personal friction Monday. They welcomed each other with a hearty hug at a press event about their shared goal of getting a $10 billion federal Medicaid waiver.

"This is someone I've have had the honor of working with for almost 20 years," de Blasio said. "So I hope people understand when there's this depth of personal relationship, that we talk about a variety of issues all the time."

Still, there was no indication that either Cuomo or de Blasio was ready to bend on how to fund pre-K. Cuomo said Monday he continues to believe his proposal was the best for the state.

"We have decided and we are committed to doing universal pre-K," Cuomo said, seated next to de Blasio, whom he described as his friend. "The second question is: How will you do it? And that's the discussion that we're going to be having over the next several weeks."

New York City officials cannot raise tax rates on their wealthy residents without a "home rule" message from the state Legislature. Such messages to localities are common. Democratic state Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island, one of the city lawmakers who greeted de Blasio warmly, told the budget hearing that lawmakers were set to approve five other home rule messages later that day.

Some Republican members of the panel, including members of the Senate's ruling coalition, seemed more dubious about the need for a city tax increase.

GOP Assemblywoman Jane Corwin of the suburban Buffalo area said she was concerned about raising taxes in a time when just 35,000 city residents pay 40 percent of the taxes.

"What happens if some of them leave the state?" Corwin asked.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:20:15 GMT
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City was at the center of a forum held Thursday at City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders attended the round-table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City was at the center of a forum held Thursday at City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders attended the round-table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
  • Workers trapped in trench collapse

    Workers trapped in trench collapse

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:19:38 GMT
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
  • Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:57:07 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices