In first NYC budget, de Blasio pushes pre-K, retiree healthcare

Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:07pm EST

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the plenary session of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington January 23, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the plenary session of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington January 23, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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(Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio included a tax on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten in his first budget and proposed restoring $1 billion to a retiree healthcare fund that his predecessor's plan would have drained.

The proposal marks the first time in 20 years that a Democrat has drafted a spending plan for the biggest city in the United States. The Democrat-led City Council must approve a budget by the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

The centerpiece of de Blasio's plan, universal early education and an expansion of after-school programs, faces headwinds in the state capital, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a different funding source that doesn't require a tax hike.

A Republican leader in the state Senate has also said he won't allow lawmakers to vote on de Blasio's plan.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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