De Blasio, allies dig heels on pre-K tax after Skelos says he’ll block vote

de blasio prek
Mayor Bill de Blasio rebuked GOP state Sen. Dean Skelos’ vow to block the city’s universal prekindergarten plan from going to a vote.
Credit: nyc.gov

Mayor Bill de Blasio rebuked murmurings from Albany that his administration’s plan for universal full day prekindergarten would not go to a vote in the state senate.

De Blasio gave an impassioned address to a crowd of more than 200 local pastors at Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Joined by the Rev. Al Sharpton and first lady Chirlane McCray, the mayor rallies the clergy to promote the city’s plan — which relies on Albany granting the city’s the ability to hike taxes on its wealthiest.

Sharpton and de Blasio pleaded with the clergy leaders to help sway state lawmakers towards supporting the administration’s plan while rejecting legislators who would deny a vote on the request.

“They can’t accept the possibility of no vote on something that the people of New York City have spoken for so clearly,” he told the audience, neglecting to mention the governor’s plan for $1.5 billion towards statewide universal prekindergarten over the span of five years.

“They can’t accept the notion that New York City will be treated like a colony that doesn’t even get to decide its own future,” de Blasio added.

The mayor and his wife further riled up the crowd with a rousing rhetoric that likened the administration’s fight with state senate Republican majority leader Dean Skelos to the struggle for civil rights.

While McCray described education as “the defining civil rights issue of today,” de Blasio quoted Martin Luther King’s call to “bridge the gap between abject poverty and inordinate wealth.”

De Blasio went on to describe Skelos’ refusal as a blatant denial of rights to New Yorkers.

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Let’s not sugarcoat it. The people of this city demand something for our children, and we are told we don’t even get a vote in Albany, as if our children don’t matter.”

The audience seemed to need little convincing. Sharpton led the room in a chant in the middle of de Blasio’s speech, shouting “we want a vote.”

De Blasio later told reporters that he was surprised and “miffed” by Skelos’ comments, adding that previous conversations with the GOP leader indicated room for negotiation.

Shortly before de Blasio’s first major address since his inauguration in January, Skelos preemptively rejected de Blasio’s pitch.

“The last thing we need is to see high earners leave New York state, because then we lose their tax dollars,” Skelos said to reporters on Monday.

A spokesman for Skelos declined to comment on de Blasio’s response on Tuesday.

Skelos’ senate co-leader came out in opposition to the Long Island lawmaker’s remarks. Bronx Democratic Sen. Jeff. Klein reaffirmed his own refusal to consider any budget that doesn’t align itself with the needs outlined by the de Blasio administration.

“As I have always said, I’m not in favor of taxing just for the sake of taxing,” he said in a statement. “But I wholeheartedly support Mayor de Blasio’s tax increase because it will adequately fund universal pre-K for New York City and that is why I am committed to making it a part of this year’s state budget.”

Meanwhile, the City Council stepped up today in support of a non-binding resolution calling for Albany to adopt the mayor’s prekindergarten plan. All of the body’s 48 Democrats are expected to vote in favor of the bill.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito shared a crowded podium with her colleagues committed to passing what she described as a “strongly worded” resolution.

Like de Blasio, she said she was surprised by Skelos’s comments and equally resolved to get at least a vote on the tax hike in Albany.

“Don’t deny New York City children this critical opportunity,” Mark-Viverito in reference to Skelos’ statement. “Do the right thing and allow a vote.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Entertainment

'Bachelorette' recap: Episode 10, 'Men Tell All'

Why does the #MenTellAll episode exist? Because they don’t, and it shouldn’t. Is it a lazy vehicle to sell more ad space? Is it to…

Television

Olivia Williams explains the ins and outs of…

Olivia Williams plays a botanist beginning to suspect her physicist husband's work on the Manhattan Project might be ominous in WGN America's "Manhattan."

Movies

Scarlett Johansson on 'Lucy':' 'I guess I’m the…

Scarlett Johansson continues her foray into action movies with thriller “Lucy”, admitting it’s been an unexpected adventure.

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…