Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said today that he would back New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort for a home-rule message in Albany to raise income taxes on the rich.
If that’ss unsuccessful, Silver said the state Legislature would look at other ways to fund de Blasio’s plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten in the city.
“I think the mayor should have the right to do what he sees fit to do,” Silver told reporters outside his Capitol office. “They’ll send a home-rule message, and I think by and large the members of my conference, especially from the city of New York, want to support him.”
Silver said he supports de Blasio’s proposal to have a dedicated revenue stream to fund pre-k. Cuomo said he supports pre-k statewide, but indicated yesterday that he won’t call for a statewide funding plan in his State of the State address tomorrow.
But it’s unclear whether Cuomo will include funding for pre-k statewide, with a pricetag of at least $250 million, in his budget proposal Jan. 21.
Senate Republicans are expected to balk at de Blasio’s plan.
“If he can’t achieve it, the second best thing is to find a way to pay for it anyway,” Silver said of de Blasio. “But I’m not ready to say he can’t achieve it. What’s very clear is he’s forceful; he has great ability, the mayor. I think he can go out and convince the people who ultimately are going to pay the tax that it’s to their benefit to educate New Yorkers earlier.”
Silver said the Legislature would consider forcing a delay on the implementation of the Common Core testing standards for students if the Board of Regents doesn’t come back with a plan to alleviate the pressure being put on students and teachers. The board is expected to report its findings on Common Core next month.
“I think the case has been made, if nothing else, for a delay and a re-evaluation of the implementation of Common Core,” Silver said.
Silver said he plans to take a closer look at Cuomo’s plan unveiled yesterday to adopt $2 billion in tax cuts. He said the Assembly would evaluate whether the revenue is available for the cut.
He also said the plan needs to be equitable and include New York City homeowners.
“It has to apply across the state,” Silver said. “The renters’ piece is good, but there are also a lot of homeowners in New York City who will not be covered by the governor’s plan.”
Silver added that he didn’t necessarily see the immediate need to push for legislation to legalize medical marijuana. Cuomo is proposing to legalize it through executive order, yet Assembly Health Committee chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, said yesterday he still wants it to pass legislatively.
“I think what’s important that the people who need it, and I emphasis need it, are the people who are going to get it under the governor’s system or under Dick Gottfied’s system,” Silver said.