New York City pre-K plan finds favor among state voters

NEW YORK Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:07am EST

Liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio speaks during his election victory party at the Park Slope Armory in New York November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio speaks during his election victory party at the Park Slope Armory in New York November 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Raising taxes on New York City's highest earners to pay for early education programs, a signature proposal of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, has the backing of more than six in 10 New York state voters, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

De Blasio, a liberal Democrat who takes office in January, is expected to face strong opposition to the plan from the politically divided state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for re-election next year and has committed to keeping tax rates in check.

The fact that a large majority of state voters favor the plan could give De Blasio, who won over 70 percent of the vote in November's election, fresh leverage as he seeks to deliver on a centerpiece issue of his campaign.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that more than 90 percent of state Democrats and 60 percent of independents back the idea, while nearly 60 percent of state Republicans oppose it. The proposal has support in every region of the state.

But Republicans "still have a lot to say about what happens in Albany," said Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll.

In the state Senate, where a power-sharing deal gives Republicans partial control, some Republicans have spoken out against a tax hike, arguing it would make the state less competitive. Senate co-leader Jeffrey D. Klein and state Assembly leader Sheldon Silver, both Democrats, have said they support the plan.

The proposal calls for increasing city income taxes from 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent on those who make over $500,000 to provide universal access to pre-kindergarten and middle-school after-school programs.

De Blasio argues that adding tens of thousands of 4-year-olds to the city's pre-K rolls will help narrow the achievement gap and improve the preparation of black and Latino pupils.

During the city's hard-fought Democratic mayoral primary, de Blasio's rivals said the plan was poorly conceived, and questioned whether he would be able to get it through Albany.

While voters seem to like the proposal, it is not clear that popular support will translate to support among lawmakers.

Carroll also noted that only 18 percent of state voters list increased funding for schools as a top priority, suggesting de Blasio's plan could face an uphill fight.

The telephone survey of 1,337 New York State voters was conducted from November 20-24, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

While so-called "millionaire's tax" plans have been controversial across the country, in states like New York they often enjoy broad popular support. But expanding pre-K access, pushed by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address in February, has also been a Democratic priority.

Children from low-income families come into school with a far more limited vocabulary, which can hold back their academic progress. High quality pre-schools aim to build up those critical skills with heavy emphasis on literacy, conversation and creative play.

But research on the benefits of pre-school programs like the federally subsidized Head Start has produced mixed results.

An analysis by the New York's publicly funded Independent Budget Office shows that earners making $750,000 to $1 million annually would pay an extra $1,335 to $2,670 with the new surcharge. About 51,300 of New York's 3.5 million taxpayers would be required to pay the tax, the IBO said.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (7)
morbas wrote:
Applause, Applause, Applause
Would that North Carolina join in.

In North Carolina 2013 the T’GOP enacted fragrant governmental power and liberty infringement over reach.

In all twenty laws were enacted the benefits the Oligarch rich and further burdened the lower 4/5th: S-402 State Budget furloughs 4,000 teachers, H-82 Earned Income Tax Credit regressive tax rate, H-998 Major Tax Changes burdening the poor, S-4 denied Medicare for the Poor, H-4 cut federal unemployment aid, S-489 raise loan rates, H-589voter disenfranchisement see below (now in court), H-269subsidies to private schools, H-250 Charter schools standards reduction, H-937 guns allowed in schools, S-306 Repeal Racial Justice Act, H652 Judicial Discipline restrictions, H-522 Foreign Fears enhancing anti-Muslim discrimination, H-392 Worker Benefit drug testing, S-353 Shutting down women health clinics, S-132 Mandatory Abortion Indoctrination, H-74 Undo Sensible regulations increasing anti-environmental actions, S-151 Impacts Coastal Protection, S-515 Water Cleanup delayed three years, and S-76 enhancing fracking and offshore oil production.
In Legislative recess from June 2013 through May 2014 on full salary and health care benefits, they would not even stand to be challenged by Raleigh Moral Monday citizens and NAACP clergy.

(H-589) voters at poles must show a specific type of government photo ID. Student IDs won’t be accepted and teenage ealry registration ends. Effective 2014: early voting is cut by 7 days; no same day registration, no straight ticket and no out of precinct voting; no stand by your ad and les disclosure of campaign money. The law also authorizes more partisan observers inside poles, empower vigilante groups to challenge voters, and increases corporates money parties; it kills public financing options and raises contribution limits; and allows mass mailing of absentee ballot requests. House concurrence, 73-41. Senate: third reading 33-14.” : NAACP report card.
In addition, voting booths have been reduced in opposing party strong holds by example; ‘a factor of 3 in the Boone district by order of the Governor. The selection of a single polling place was in a life threatening out in the sticks location having restricted parking capacity (Rachel Maddow)’.


Nov 27, 2013 6:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
lucky12345 wrote:
How about this progressive liberal idea, the US should require Billionaires like Warren Buffett to send a 300 Million dollar check to the Treasury every year until such time as there net worth falls below a Billion dollars, very simple right! Only in this way will the US end it’s inequality and we’ll also be able to spend yet more money on Food Stamps and other free stuff… Now, how’s that “Hope and Change” thing working for you… I’d also say that looking at the numbers, we should shutdown the Federal Government permanently!

Nov 27, 2013 7:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
davis420 wrote:
‘Tax and spend’, the only issue with that is who’s taxed and on whom it’s spent. We need a more fare and balanced tax system, stop favoring and/or exempting special groups. Establish a balanced budget, and set fare tax rates based upon meeting those obligations. The current gap between the top earners and those at the bottom is, at the very least, questionable.

Nov 27, 2013 8:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
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