Cuomo cites father's words in defending statewide pre-kindergarten

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Spin Cycle

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         ALBANY _ Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday said he sees no battle between himself and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over how to expand pre-kindergarten, despite their conflicting proposals.

          “This is, frankly, an exciting path that we are on,” Cuomo told WNYC in a radio interview Friday. “I applaud the mayor, who is a friend of mine.”

          Cuomo, however, wouldn’t budge from his position that pre-kindergarten should be expanded statewide _ not just in New York City _ and that it should be paid for with existing state funds _ not a new city tax as de Blasio’s wants.

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          De Blasio has proposed increasing the city income tax on the highest earners to pay for a city program which could be in place by September. But he needs Cuomo and the Legislature to approve any increase in a city tax.

          “I don’t believe we need additional revenue,” Cuomo said. He cited the state’s own temporary millionaire’s tax, which he has extended twice.

          Cuomo also noted a landmark speech by his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, to the 1984 national Democratic convention. In the keynote address often referred to as the Tale of Two Cities speech, the elder Cuomo said “the future of the child in Buffalo is our future.”

         “I think it was articulated very well,” the current governor said Friday. “The answer to the Tale of Two Cities is not to create two states. The answer to inequity and inequality is not to create more inequity and inequality.”

        “I support a statewide system because the children of New York City are precious, and so are the children of Buffalo, and so are the children in Albany and so are the children in Suffolk,” Cuomo said. “And I’m not going to leave behind the children in any part of this state. That is not going to happen and nobody should want it to happen.”

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