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Cuomo, de Blasio step back from war of words

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo appear at a joint event in October 2014. Photo Credit: Getty / Bryan Thomas

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped back Monday from a recent escalating war of words, citing common goals on education and housing policies for New York City.

"The mayor advocates for his cause. I advocate for my cause," Cuomo said during an interview Monday on "The Capitol Pressroom" on WCNY. "He's a tough advocate, and I wouldn't respect him if he wasn't."

Later in the day, de Blasio told reporters at City Hall: "He's right that we both do this work with a lot of intensity. I think there are some philosophical differences . . . but I also think there are a lot of areas of agreement."

De Blasio said he and the governor have had "clarifying conservations" in recent days, but would not detail the timing or the context.

The tamped-down rhetoric came a day after Cuomo charged de Blasio with offering a "sweetheart deal to large real estate developers."

The mayor, speaking at the same event, said the governor was "standing in the way of a reform plan" to save the city money and create affordable housing.

Under that plan, de Blasio seeks a modified extension of a developer tax-break program, begun in the 1970s and set to expire June 15, to encourage new construction.

That plan also includes a requirement for the inclusion of affordable apartments, for the tax abatement to be good for up to 35 years and for construction labor unions to accept less than prevailing wage.

Cuomo, who has not put forth a proposal of his own, said "there is a negotiation to take place" to benefit lower-income residents, developers and workers.

"We're working to resolve it," Cuomo said. "The mayor wants to resolve it. I want to resolve it."

De Blasio, who worked under Cuomo when the governor was the head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, indicated the two are more in sync on the extensions of direct mayoral control of public schools and the city's rent-control laws.

The mayor stood Monday with business leaders, including former Time Warner and Citigroup chairman Richard D. Parsons, who back mayoral control of schools as a bipartisan issue.

De Blasio called Cuomo's morning statements of support on the issue "very helpful, very constructive."


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