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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:29 am, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

Cuomo pre-empts de Blasio on pre-K with no tax increase

Universal prekindergarten will be instituted not just in New York City but across the state if Gov. Cuomo’s budget plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year is approved, and it will be done without the tax increase that Mayor de Blasio insists would be a more reliable and more equitable source of funding.

Cuomo formally announced his plan to fund pre-K out of the state budget Tuesday as part of his spending proposal. The move keeps him at odds with de Blasio over the issue, who wants to pay for mandatory pre-K in the city with an income tax hike on earnings above $500,000. De Blasio would increase the rate on city residents’ income above that figure from 3.9 to 4.4 percent to cover it, as well as more afterschool programs. The state must approve any change to the city income tax rate.

Cuomo, however, is focusing on reducing taxes, pledging to cut the levies on property, businesses, renters and estates.

After the governor delivered his budget address, de Blasio told the media he still wants a tax hike on those making half a million dollars or more. “I have a mandate from the people to pursue this plan,” the mayor said. “I’m going to pursue this plan.”

Cuomo also pledged to allow charter schools to offer pre-K for the first time. De Blasio wants to limit charter school growth.

Bloomberg gets good marks in public poll

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg had a successful tenure, made the city a better place and should not have been criticized the way he was by several speakers at Mayor de Blasio’s inauguration, a survey released last week found.

The poll, taken by Quinnipiac University, found that 64 percent called the Bloomberg era “mainly a success” while 24 percent called it mainly a failure. Among Democrats, the success vs. failure rating was 62 to 26 percent, while it was 68 to 19 percent among independents and 78 to 17 percent among Republicans.

Among all respondents, 61 percent found the criticism of Bloomberg at the inauguration to be inappropriate, while 18 percent thought it was appropriate.

Sixty-three percent said Bloomberg had made the city a better place while 16 percent thought he had made it worse and 13 percent thought he had no effect.

For all the results, visit quinnipiac.edu, click on “Institutes + Centers” and then select “Polling institute.”

DEC wants to kill or capture mute swans

The mute swan is a non-native invasive bird that has been damaging New York State’s ecology for about 100 years, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, which wants to kill or remove all free-ranging members of the species by 2025. Details of the DEC’s draft plan to do so and directions on how members of the public may comment on it are available at dec.ny.gov/animals/7076.html. The deadline for comments is Feb. 21.

State essay contest: your favorite poem

“Do you have a poem you carry in your wallet?” official New York State Poet Marie Howe asks. “Or, in your heart? Perhaps you have a poem you taped on your refrigerator? How has this poem changed your life?

“Briefly, deeply in no more than 600 words, tell us how. Say a few words about yourself and the story of the poem.”

All state residents are encouraged to enter the first Poetry Unites Contest. Four individuals’ essays will be selected to be featured in a series of six-minute-long film profiles, which will be posted on Poets.org and PBS’s website, and may be broadcast by PBS and other media. Those winners will receive invitations to a celebratory film screening in the city in October.

For all the contest rules, email Ewa Zadrzynska at ewazadrzynska@hotmail.com. The deadline for submissions is April 15.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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