Bill de Blasio: Poll proves support for tax-the-rich plan

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio speaks

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio speaks to the media after he delivered the keynote address at the New York City Summit on Children, organized by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, in Manhattan. (Nov. 25, 2013) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio Wednesday called a poll showing 2-1 voter support for his tax-the-rich plan "an extraordinary vote of confidence" and said he was gearing up for a "grassroots" campaign to promote the hike.

The Democrat's plan -- his campaign's signature promise -- would raise taxes half a percentage point on income over $500,000 to expand universal prekindergarten and after-school programs. It has 63 percent of support among statewide voters, versus 32 who oppose. In New York City, 68 percent approve and 30 percent don't, according to the poll, released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

An aide handed de Blasio the poll numbers after he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, gave out Thanksgiving staples such as turkeys and milk at a food pantry in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section.

"This morning, the Quinnipiac poll came out confirming something I've felt for a long time: the extent of support all over the city, all over the state for our pre-K and after-school plan," de Blasio said. "The people understand if we're going to move forward as a society, we have to focus on early childhood education, we have to focus on after-school."

Statewide, Democrats back the hike 81 percent to 15 percent, while Republicans oppose it 58 percent to 39 percent, the survey showed.

The measure would need approval in the State Legislature, which must approve nearly all taxes.

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Critics have said the legislature would not support it in an election year, and de Blasio ally Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who is also up for re-election next year, said yet again Tuesday he was focused on lowering property taxes, and he has been largely noncommittal. Another de Blasio backer, former Mayor David Dinkins, on Monday publicly suggested that de Blasio, a former junior aide, should instead consider resurrecting the commuter tax on suburbanites as a more realistic option.

Cuomo spokesman Matthew Wing declined to comment.

The survey polled 1,337 New York State voters between Nov. 20 and 24 via landline and cellphone, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

De Blasio also denied a report that he has chosen former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to again lead the department, saying, "I have not picked anyone." Bratton told The New York Observer that the report, by Channel 11, is untrue.

De Blasio said appointments would begin next week.

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