letters of correspondence
As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other supporters of the mayor’s plan to tax rich New York City residents to fund universal pre-K rally in Albany today, assembly members across the five boroughs have almost completely unified around the proposal.
Pre-K this Way
One is threatening to kill his newly-elected disciple’s signature campaign promise to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund universal pre-K.
The other is trying to out-maneuver his old boss–one of the slickest political operators in the state–in a power play that has become the dominating drama of the post-election political season.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo drew the next line in the sand over funding universal prekindergarten in his 2014 budget address today, side-stepping Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature tax-the-rich plan.
Mr. de Blasio, of course, made the expansion of universal pre-K his signature campaign issue, which was tied to a tax on the city’s highest-income earners. But such a tax requires approval from Albany and Mr. Cuomo made it clear today he is not on board by proposing an alternate funding mechanism.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made his first trip up to Albany as mayor of New York City today and quickly downplayed any difference with the governor–potentially his biggest hurdle in the weeks ahead.
“I think it’s been a very positive day as I prepare to build a very constructive working relationship with all the leaders in Albany,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual State of the State speech. “I think this speech’ll be a great road-map for so much of our work going forward.”
The Winter Months
The city’s Independent Budget Office has some ideas for incoming Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to boost revenue and save cash as he prepares to take the reins of City Hall.
As part of its annual wish list, the group has suggested boosting the city’s tax rate on alcohol–and adding new tax on wine–to rake in nearly $50 million in extra revenue a year.
Bill de Blasio may have overwhelmingly won the mayor’s race last night, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted today that everyone will have to wait to find out whether he will approve Mr. de Blasio’s signature proposal to tax the rich to fund universal pre-K and more after-school programs.
Comedian Lewis Black is back with another love letter to New York State–and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Earlier this morning, Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House Republican leadership held a press conference to announce a new proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy and avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” or the steep set of spending cuts and tax increases that will arrive by the end of the year if a deficit deal is not reached. Specifically, Mr. Boehner’s plan would extend the current tax rates on everyone making less than $1 million a year, a sharp jump from President Barack Obama’s own counteroffer yesterday, which conceded a $400,000 ceiling. Mr. Obama had previously stood firm on allowing the tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $250,000, a number that GOP lawmakers apparently found unacceptable.
“Our hope continues to be to reach an agreement with the president on a balanced approach that averts the fiscal cliff. What we’ve offered meets the definition of balance, but the President is not there yet,” Mr. Boehner began. “What the White House offered yesterday was essentially $1.3 million in new revenues, for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That’s not balanced in my opinion. So, at the same time that we’re going to talk to the President, we’re going to also move ‘plan B.’”
As they face down the fiscal cliff, a growing number of Republicans are abandoning the pledge not to increase taxes that they made to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Today, Hudson Valley Rep. Chris Gibson came up with what might be the most creative excuse yet for breaking the pledge. Mr. Gibson saw his district number change from 20 to 19 during this year’s redistricting process and he reasoned that the pledge no longer applies to him as it was only to the constituents under the previous district number.
“The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District,” his spokeswoman explained. “Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”
In order to keep the city’s fiscal house in order in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled new cuts and streams of revenue over the weekend. Among the changes, school-lunch fees will increase from $1.50 to $2.50, while city libraries will see their funding axed to the tune of $8.3 million. Asked about it during a press conference today in the hard-hit Howard Beach neighborhood in Queens, Mr. Bloomberg defended the budgetary measures.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t like A, B and C,’” he argued. “Well, what things would they like us to raise taxes [on]? The issue here is that we’re trying to find some balance so that everybody shares a little bit in the pain, everybody contributes; we’re all in this together. And do it such that people can afford [it]. It’s not asking a lot to go, in this day in age, from one price to another if it’s a relatively small price. But if a large number of people do it, it contributes significant revenues.”