New York State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein is trying to build momentum in Albany for Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten in New York City.
"This is our opportunity to stand up for thousands of New York 4-year-olds who are getting inadequate or zero pre-education right now," said the Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.
The Senate co-leader said he supports de Blasio's plan to raise taxes for those who earn more than a half million dollars to create 50-thousand full time pre-k slots. On Sunday, he released a report of economic arguments to bolster the cause, along with State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn).
"I'm not in favor of taxing just for the sake of taxing someone," Klein said, "but if you explain to people the benefits to society as whole, to pay a little more to fund universal pre-k for all 4 year olds, I think you'll get people on board."
The state legislature must approve of any local jurisdiction's tax increase.
Klein says he wants to get the message out ahead of the new legislative session on Wednesday, when Governor Cuomo delivers his State of the State address. The governor has said he'll consider Mayor de Blasio's pre-K plan but hasn't committed to it.