After meeting, Cuomo and de Blasio don’t budge

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Bill de Blasio with Sheldon Silver in Albany. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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ALBANY—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spent two hours behind closed doors with Governor Andrew Cuomo, a meeting that both men described as productive, but which yielded no public change in their disagreement over how to fund an expansion of pre-kindergarten.

“We had a very productive conversation,” de Blasio told reporters. “I keep saying the tax is the best, most reliable way to get it done. But the bottom line is, when you know you have some common goals—and we clearly have common goals here—and we're clearly communicating, as this meeting indicates … that's a good thing, that's a healthy thing, and we're still able to work together on a number of fronts.”

De Blasio wants permission for the city to impose an income tax surcharge on residents reporting over $500,000 in income. Cuomo does not.

Legislative leaders are mixed on the idea: Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said he would not allow a vote on the tax. His governing partner, Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein, says he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with de Blasio. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the tax is the best plan currently out there, but he's open to other options.

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After the meeting, Cuomo told Capital that he and de Blasio were “working through things.”

“We disagree about funding mechanisms, and that's what the budget process is for—talk about the totality of the costs,” he said.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said his position on pre-K and support for charter schools—he appeared at a rally of charter school parents who were denouncing de Blasio's recent moves to charge some schools rent for using public facilities—were not linked.

“The charter schools: I've supported charter schools for many, many years. I believe in the movement, I believe it's a good thing, and I supported charter schools before Mayor de Blasio was Mayor de Blasio, and it had absolutely nothing to do [with him],” Cuomo said.