NEW YORK CITY—Mayor Bill de Blasio called for the state legislature to make mayoral control of the city's schools permanent and to commit $300 million to repairing New York City Housing Authority buildings during testimony Tuesday at a joint budget hearing in Albany.
De Blasio said during his three hours of testimony that mayoral control of the schools works and the city should not have to come back every three years to ask for the program to be renewed.
"Mayor Bloomberg and I agree. Mayoral control gives the City the authority it needs to carry out a vision of improving and reforming education," de Blasio told state legislators. "The speed and scale of our pre-K-for-all and expanded after school initiatives were only possible because of mayoral control."
NYCHA has been devastated by cuts in funding from the state and federal budget that have placed residents in a precarious position because of the inability to make much needed capital repairs.
Under the proposal, the city would match the $300 million ponied up by the state.
"This additional funding will help ensure that NYCHA is able to fulfill its historic role and operate at the standard tenants are entitled to," said de Blasio.
Other proposals for the mayor include the call for $370 million in funding for his plan to expand universal pre-K to 70,000 students and a pitch to make rent protection laws permanent while ending vacancy decontrol.
Some rent laws periodically expire.
The mayor was deferential to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on some issues, but criticized other proposals.
De Blasio said Cuomo's minimum wage proposal, which would see the wage rise to $11.50 in 2016, was "well-intentioned" but simply did not go far enough.
The mayor's proposal would see the minimum wage rise to $15 by 2019.
De Blasio also criticized an "ill-considered proposal in the Governor’s budget for homeless programs" that would cut $22.5 million in funding for emergency assistance for families. The mayor said 500 families would be affected.
State funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is inadequate, said the mayor. He said the MTA capital plan is underfunded by $15.5 billion "and the Governor’s contribution of just $750 million does not begin to address the critical needs" as ridership continues to climb.
"We cannot ask riders alone to sustain the system with fare increases. We must also contribute with a fully funded Capital Plan – and to achieve this, all levels of government must work together," added the mayor.
De Blasio also criticized some of the governor's education proposals on how to evaluate teachers and students, saying it was "troubling" that there was an "excessive reliance" on testing.
"Standardized tests should not be the largest part of a full evaluation of a student or a teacher," said de Blasio.
Evan Thies, a political consultant who is the president of Brooklyn Strategies, said the mayor has a tough battle ahead on some of his proposals.
"The mayor and this governor happen to disagree on many of these issues and there's also bit of a hill to climb for the mayor as he goes up against a capital where two thirds of the 'three men in a room' tend to disagree with him," Thies said referring to the state budget process.