A bipartisan group of New York state senators reportedly agreed to a deal to fund New York City's universal pre-kindergarten plan.
A five-year, $2.7 billion plan to expand pre-K will give Mayor Bill de Blasio an option other than his campaign platform of raising taxes on the city's wealthiest residents to pay for the program.
De Blasio cheered the decision, the spending levels for which have not been publicly confirmed, in a statement commending the Senate's move.
It's “an unprecedented commitment to fund free, full-day pre-K for every child in New York City, and after-school programs for every middle schooler,” the mayor said, adding that he plans to “work closely with our state partners to ensure we have the sufficient, secure and ongoing resources needed to invest in the children of this city.”
Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York State Assembly, said he plans to drop support for de Blasio's plan if the the senate's proposal passes cleanly.
“If they do it, it’s done, as far as I’m concerned,” Silver said. “I don’t need a tax.”
If the $2.7 billion plan passes, it would exceed de Blasio's tax plan by $8 million a year. Negotiations are underway to put the state budget into effect April 1.