New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met with New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy on Wednesday in a closed-door session that focused on transportation, education, jobs and fighting the Republican tax plan making its way through Congress, the mayor’s press secretary said.
The Democrats, both of whom won their election bids last month, met at the mayor’s Upper East Side residence — Gracie Mansion — for more than an hour, in a meeting that was closed to the news media.
“The Mayor and Governor-elect outlined a shared vision for the region that includes an expansion of universal pre-K, upgraded transportation and infrastructure, and a focus on mental health investment and progressive taxation,” read a statement from the mayor’s office issued hours later.
De Blasio and Murphy vowed to work together to rally against the GOP’s massive federal tax overhaul that calls for the elimination of popular tax deductions — such as state and local property tax costs and student loan interest payments — which they argue will hurt middle-class taxpayers.
“The two pledged immediate cooperation in combating the Republican tax plan and in supporting grass roots progressive organizing locally and nationally,” according to the statement from de Blasio’s office.
Congressional Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey also have come out against the GOP plan, including Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island).
While De Blasio has had a strained relationship with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo since taking office in 2014, he and Murphy have shown common ground on a host of issues. Last year, both men testified before the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s board in favor of a proposal to raise the wage of airport workers to $15 an hour.
De Blasio and Murphy also have spoken out against a “congestion pricing” plan favored by Cuomo that seeks to reduce traffic in Manhattan, by issuing tolls when vehicles enter the most crowded parts of the borough.
And both are natives of Massachusetts who have described themselves as “progressive Democrats.” Murphy recently hired one of de Blasio’s press aides to serve as his spokesman.
Murphy, who will succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie, is the first Democrat to hold the post in eight years. On Monday, he joined Cuomo and California Gov. Jerry Brown in a conference call with reporters to denounce the Republican tax plan.
“I would say this, that the stronger we are together, the more locked arms we can be on issues like this and we fight together as a team, I think there’s a lot to be said for that and a lot we will accomplish,” Murphy said.