Taxing de Rich
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, though jubilant about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desire to expand universal prekindergarten across the city, stopped short today of endorsing his plan to hike taxes to fund the program.
Appearing with Mr. de Blasio in the Bronx to promote the Catholic Church’s partnership on the pre-K expansion, Mr. Dolan refused to specifically back Mr. de Blasio’s plan to raise taxes on the city’s wealthiest residents to fund pre-K and after-school programs.
Mo' Money Mo' Problems
Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to hang another key proposal of his early administration on Albany, announcing plans today to push state lawmakers to allow the city to set its own minimum wage during his first State of the City address.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today dismissed a report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to propose an alternate funding stream for Mr. de Blasio’s signature universal pre-K tax plan, and said any extra money in the state budget should be spent on other things.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, among those vying to succeed Mayor Bloomberg, may not be so eager to challenge the status quo as the incumbent has shown time and time again, preferring instead to keep interest groups and parochial neighborhood politicians happy and content. And if his recent pronouncement on taxes is any indication, Mr. Bloomberg would be right to worry about the priorities of the next administration.
Mr. de Blasio wants to expand access to full-day pre-kindergarten in the city. That’s pretty ambitious—and pretty expensive. No problem—the public advocate has a plan for that. He says he wants to fund the pre-K program by raising taxes on those who earn more than $500,000 a year. That would raise $500 million, he said, and that would be sufficient to fund pre-K classrooms and instructors for about 68,000 children.
There’s no question that pre-K programs help to prepare young children for primary school. That’s why Mr. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott recently announced the addition of 4,000 new full-day pre-K slots beginning next fall.
The question is how best to pay for this vast expansion of the city’s school system. Raising taxes on the rich—a move that would require state approval—is the wrong answer on so many levels.