CITY HALL — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is calling for new taxes on the rich to fund early education and after-school programs.
Speaking at an Association for a Better New York breakfast, de Blasio, a likely mayoral contender, said the city needs to invest more in education if it wants to compete with other cities and give kids a leg up.
He called for new investments to create universal, full-day pre-k for all four-year-olds, and outlined a plan to keep middle school kids in school long past the 3 p.m. bell, with new, after-school enrichment programs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
To pay for it, he wants the city to boost taxes on New Yorkers making more than half a million a year for the next five years, which he said would generate an estimated $532 million a year.
“This is our economic future, and we cannot get there with half-measures and one-offs," de Blasio said. "We’re asking those who are doing well to help jumpstart this transformation so young people can have a better shot at succeeding.”
Education is expected to be a key issue in the 2013 mayoral race, with many in the race already making it a centerpiece of their agendas in office.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn recently spearheaded an effort to make kindergarten mandatory in the city, and City Comptroller John Liu issued his own report Thursday calling on the city to double the number of college counseling in the city’s public high schools to boost college attendance.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, dismissed the proposals and panned de Blasio as someone who wants a tax “on anything and everything.”
“He wants to drive everybody out of the city,” he said.