Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
After making education the cornerstone of his successful campaign, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was greeted by a standing ovation Monday at a Columbia University summit on the future of the city’s children. The room was filled with educators, advocates and policy-makers, including former Mayor David Dinkins, who de Blasio thanked for launching his career.
“There's a phrase we use in New York City politics Mr. Mayor, and it's 'You remember who you came to the dance with,” said de Blasio.
Then the Mayor-elect shifted back to the topic du jour: providing universal pre-k and expanding after-school programs by raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers.
But when the floor was opened for comments after the speech, Dinkins offered some unsolicited advice to his protégé, suggesting de Blasio consider bringing back the commuter tax instead of taxing the wealthy. The commuter tax would apply to people who work in the city but live outside of it and was eliminated by the state legislature more than a decade ago.
De Blasio respectfully thanked Dinkins for his suggestion, but said in the "here and now" his tax plan was the right one.
De Blasio's tax push comes in an election year for state lawmakers. It also falls at the same time Governor Andrew Cuomo and two commissions are looking for ways to cut state taxes.
De Blasio says he wants his tax hike in place by the state's budget deadline of April 1, 2014.