Thursday, April 24, 2014


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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: An End to the Pre-K Poker Game?

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As Mayor de Blasio probably was hoping for some decaf in his Morning Joe yesterday, he also revealed his hand in a marathon poker game with Gov. Cuomo over his proposed tax on the city's wealthiest residents to pay for universal pre-k.

During a sometimes testy interview on MSNBC, de Blasio said he was"absolutely open to an alternative that gets the job done", adding: "I’ve also said that I don’t believe, given the vagaries of Albany, that we’re going to have anything as verifiable and consistent as the tax plan I’ve put forward."

Perhaps his lengthy private talk with the governor last week finally convinced de Blasio that he's not going to get the tax he's been coveting to pay for his plan and that instead he'll have to accept a face-saving solution being offered by Cuomo.

Later in the day, the State Assembly yesterday gave a little back slap to the mayor, with Speaker Sheldon Silver saying that the mayor's tax will be part of the Assembly's proposed budget plan. But that's hardly a surprise as Silver has repeatedly expressed his support for the mayor, who seems more politically aligned with him than the governor these days. Trying to put his MSNBC comments behind him, de Blasio last night issued a statement, noting that "Speaker Shelly Silver and his conference have put the children of New York City first."

But the mayor is also facing a governor who is putting his re-election first – who also loves the fact that he can politically triangulate around the city's liberal mayor. With the state budget talks wrapping up later this month, the mayor is starting to count his pile of poker chips and realize that while he may not own the house, he's going to walk home with a lot more money than he had when he took office in January.

Bob Hardt

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