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Competing pre-K plans testing Democrats' allegiances

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Albany/HV: Competing pre-K plans testing Democrats' allegiances
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Democrats in the State Assembly are looking at two proposals on how to fund all day pre-kindergarten, and that has allegiances to both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo being tested.

"There is a schism within the Democratic Party," said State Senator Dean Skelos.

That schism is a vast disagreement between the mayor and the governor over how to fund universal pre-K.

Mayor de Blasio has said he wants a tax on the wealthy to pay for the program.

"People in NYC have spoken. It's up to Albany to respect the rights of the people of this city," de Blasio said.

Cuomo outlined his plan Tuesday's budget address to achieve the same goal but with state funding and no tax increase.

"There has to be an additional source of revenue for New York. It's not enough for the state dollars," said Assemblywoman Karim Camara, of Brooklyn.

Most of the Assembly Democrats say publicly that they support the mayor in this tricky fight.

"What we are really talking about is whether or not the city of New York should be given the right to tax those folks making a half a million dollars or more. I happen to think there is nothing particularly wrong with giving the city the right to tax," said Assemblyman Keith Wright, of Harlem.

But privately, some concede that de Blasio's plan for New York City is a longshot. Last week, sources say Cuomo called members of the black and Latino caucus to his office and told them he'd find the money, and not to make waves over the tax.

"The tax is going to be a difficult road for folks in Albany. The senate is not going to welcome it. They don't like taxes at all," said Assemblyman Nick Perry, of Brooklyn.

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