Cuomo says too much home rule could be ‘chaotic’

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In a radio appearance on Tuesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo questioned the “home-rule” argument being pushed by Bill de Blasio and some of his allies, which would allow the city to set its own tax and wage rates.

De Blasio, and some his Democratic supporters in the State Senate, maintain the city should have the autonomy to raise taxes on its highest earners, as part of the mayor's broader plan to fund universal pre-K, and that the city should also have the authority to raise the minimum wage for city workers.

Asked about the minimum wage increase, which de Blasio proposed in his State of the City speech yesterday, Cuomo acknowledged local requests should be "taken seriously."

"But we are also one state and we don’t want to cannibalize ourselves, we dont want to have different cities with different tax rates competing among themselves," he said on "The Capitol Pressroom."

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He said cities could try to "steal business" from each other with different tax and wage rates.

"This could be a chaotic situation, so the balance is very important," he said. "And that's what the [state] constitution tries to establish, a balance, a common set of primarily economic factors within a state ... and then let the states compete. We compete with other states."

He was sanguine about the coming fight over pre-kindergarten funding, a day after Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos and Senate co-leader Jeff Klein issued seemingly dueling statements about the pre-K plan, offering a faint glimmer of a future budget showdown.

Skelos said he wouldn’t bring a budget with a tax hike in it to the floor for a vote. Klein said he wouldn’t vote for a budget that “fails to realize the vision” de Blasio has for universal pre-kindergarten.

Asked to weigh in on the leaders’ disagreement, Cuomo said, “I think disagreement is a harsh characterization.”

“They’re not tremendously different opinions,” he said, adding, “frankly, we’re probably more in alignment this session” than in previous years.

“You have differences of opinion,” and “reconcile them through the budget process. It’s not that we start the process with everybody agreeing.”

“This is all part of the budget process,” he said.