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De Blasio escalates criticism of Cuomo

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes a question during a news conference on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Albany. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in his harshest attack yet on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said he lacks a partner in the state's chief executive, accusing Cuomo of excuse-making, "putting out distractions" to stymie the city's agenda and failing to show leadership.

In an interview taped Friday and scheduled to air Sunday, de Blasio told WABC-TV's Diana Williams that he is particularly upset at the governor for failing to support plans on renewal of mayoral control of public schools, rent regulation and changes to a 1970s-era tax break for real estate developers that the mayor calls necessary to create more affordable housing.

"I don't see the leadership I would expect," de Blasio said, according to a transcript of "Up Close," set to air at 11 a.m.

Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever declined to comment.

De Blasio's interview represents an escalation of tensions between the two Democrats, who had until recently touted their "friendship" as decades old and strong. In February, Cuomo predicted theirs would prove "the best relationship between a mayor and governor in modern political history."

But since de Blasio took office 17 months ago, Cuomo has put up repeated roadblocks for de Blasio initiatives, including the mayor's calls to limit the growth of charter schools, tax the rich to pay for prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds and erect below-market-rate housing above the Sunnyside, Queens, rail yards.

Seated in the City Hall Blue Room, de Blasio ridiculed Cuomo's assertion that there isn't enough time left in the current legislative session -- less than three weeks -- to change the real estate tax break, known as 421-a.

"That's, in my view, an excuse on the governor's part. Clearly there's enough time," de Blasio said. Touting his plan to "create affordable housing for 160,000 New Yorkers over 10 years," de Blasio asked, "Why wouldn't the governor say, thank you, we need to do that?"

Cuomo has dismissed the proposal as a giveaway to developers that fails to protect workers because de Blasio wants to allow paying construction workers below "prevailing wage" standards to lower costs.

"I think the bottom line is that he's putting out distractions when we need to get to the core issue. We have a chance to get something done," de Blasio retorted.

Cuomo resisted another de Blasio initiative -- the permanent renewal of mayoral control of public schools. Cuomo and the Democratic-run Assembly favor a three-year extension and Republicans controlling the State Senate are calling for only a one-year extension.

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