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What's it Take to Lead NYC? De Blasio, Lhota Face Off

by Jeff Coltin
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New York City Hall at dusk

Kmf164, wikimedia

Mayoral candidates debate for third and final time before the election.

Universal Pre-K's been a centerpiece of Bill de Blasio's campaign.  But to fund it, the Democrat will need to convince Governor Cuomo to let him raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers. At the debate last night, he was asked what he'd do if he couldn't get it passed.

"We intend to pass this," he said. "Anyone who's a leader doesn't start talking about plan B's, plan C's. You talk about your vision and how you're going to get it done."

Republican challenger Joe Lhota jumped on the comment.

"Real leaders not only have a plan b, but they have a plan c," he said. "What you really need to know is what is your goal and how do you achieve it. If plan A doesn't work, you go to B, you go to plan C. That is the ultimate sign of leadership."

More tax talk was on the docket: Lhota said he would go after high property taxes.

"We have to reevaluate our assessed values. Our assessed values have gone up so much. It's really the middle class that is being hurt very very much."

The former Head of the MTA said he would also cut some corporate taxes, so long as they create jobs.

De Blasio derided Lhota for having what he called a "classic Republican plan." The City's Public Advocate said he would raise taxes for some.

"Income tax increase for five years on those who make a half million [dollars a year] or more so we can fix our schools," de Blasio said. "Full day Pre-K and after-school for middle school kids."

The two also debated public safety and charter schools.

There was a bit of fun at the end, however. The candidates were asked to pick one musical artist to play at their inauguration. For Lhota: The Allman Brothers. For de Blasio: Bruce Springsteen.

The latest polls have de Blasio up by more than 40 points with the election less than a week away on Tuesday, November 5.

Listen

In a contentious debate, the candidates couldn't even agree on the meaning of leadership.

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