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Queens Chronicle

State Senate budget offers pre-K funding

No tax increase, but significant money

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:13 am, Thu Mar 27, 2014.

Mayor de Blasio may get the funds he wants to implement universal prekindergarten citywide this year, though he won’t get them the way he proposed.

The state Senate, controlled by a coalition of Republicans, who are opposed to the mayor’s plan to raise taxes on city residents with incomes of $500,000 and over to fund pre-K, and Independent Democrats who back it, passed a budget proposal last Friday that excluded the tax hike, but included $540 million for pre-K in New York City, the full amount de Blasio sought to raise with his tax hike.

The Democratic-controlled state Assembly passed a budget that includes a provision allowing the city to implement the tax hike, though it is not likely to be included in any final agreement, which will be decided on by state Senate Co-leaders Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Gov. Cuomo.

In a statement, de Blasio praised the Senate’s proposal.

“Under Conference Leaders Klein and Skelos, the state senate’s majority has put forward an unprecedented commitment to fund free, full-day pre-K for every child in New York City, and after-school programs for every middle schooler,” the statement said. “We will work closely with our state partners to ensure we have the sufficient, secure and ongoing resources needed to invest in the children of this city.”

The mayor further called on the Senate to back his tax hike plan.

Cuomo has been opposed to the mayor’s plan and proposed $100 million in funds for statewide pre-K, far less than the Senate’s proposal. Several Senate sources say Cuomo has been lukewarm to the Senate’s funding proposal, which would be paid for by eliminating nearly $1 billion in corporate tax cuts favored by the governor.

The state budget is due by April 1 and Cuomo, especially, is focused on preventing any delay in an election year. The budget has not been late since he took office in 2011.

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