'If The People Choose Me On Nov. 5, It's Going To Be One Of My Top Priorities'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Democratic New York City mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio laid out his plan for universal pre-kindergarten and after school programs during a visit to an early childhood education center in East Harlem on Monday.

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, de Blasio made the campaign stop at the Children’s Aid Society despite the fact that the 3- and 4-year-olds he read to are not old enough to vote.

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“This is an idea whose time has come,” said the mayoral hopeful.

He would pay for it by taxing New Yorkers who make at least $500,000 each year. De Blasio said investing in early education is the only way to bridge the gap.

“It’s a small increase in their tax rate but it would have a huge, huge impact on the children of this city,” said de Blasio.

Democratic mayoral makes a campaign stop at the Children's Aid Society, Sept. 30, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Democratic mayoral makes a campaign stop at the Children’s Aid Society, Sept. 30, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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But he’d have to get Albany’s approval for the tax hike, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Republican majority in the state senate.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has not said whether he supports the plan.

“If the people choose me on Nov. 5, it’s going to be one of my top priorities. We’re going to go to work on it immediately, anticipating the April 1, 2014 state budget,” said de Blasio. “And I think there’s going to be a lot of public support and that’s going to make a huge difference.”

The Republican mayoral nominee, Joe Lhota, will host a tele-town hall Monday evening at 6:30 p.m.

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