Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to tax New York City’s wealthy to fund universal pre-kindergarten is dead on arrival in Albany, according to the Long Island Republican who co-leads the state senate.
Dean Skelos, speaking as de Blasio delivered his first State of the City address, said he won’t let the chamber vote on the measure, the centerpiece of the mayor’s agenda. Skelos must agree to any bill that comes to the floor under a powersharing agreement with four breakaway Democrats.
Asked at a press briefing in Albany today whether de Blasio’s plan would get a vote, Skelos said "no." Skelos has said he supports providing classes to every 4-year-old in the state.
"The governor has clearly indicated that you don’t have to raise taxes in New York City," to make it happen, he said today.
De Blasio won office in November after promising to raise taxes on the rich to provide early childhood education. Governor Andrew Cuomo last month proposed a budget that would provide the program throughout the state without raising taxes.
De Blasio has been gearing up for a fight in Albany, where lawmakers and the governor control most local levies. Skelos' statement cleared the way for Cuomo's competing five-year plan, which would cost more than $2.2 billion to create pre-kindergarten and after-school programs statewide. De Blasio’s tax would raise $2.5 billion just for those programs in the city.
"Raising taxes on the rich makes our commitment to our kids more than just words," the mayor said in the text of his speech. "It makes that commitment real. It makes that commitment fair. And it offers a promise to our kids that they can count on."
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