ALBANY - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to the State Capitol Wednesday to make an impassioned pitch for major items that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo strongly opposes.
De Blasio, testifying for three hours before a panel of state legislators, asked them to give his office permanent control of city schools, block an expansion of charter schools, increase money for mass transit, rebuff Cuomo's cut to homeless services and reject Cuomo's bid to increase the importance of academic standardized tests.
De Blasio, a Democrat, also might face a hostile reception from Senate Republicans, who won control of the chamber last fall despite the mayor's vocal campaign for Democrats.
But the mayor brushed off the potential roadblocks and urged lawmakers to consider helping the city that drives the state's economic engine.
"This year, we are looking to the state for help meeting some truly critical needs," de Blasio said. "If these issues are not met, our economy will suffer and, I'd say, by extension the whole state's economy will suffer."
While de Blasio testified, across the street Cuomo held a cabinet meeting to push his own agenda, appearing with one of de Blasio's former rivals, ex-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The governor criticized the notion that he tried to upstage the mayor, but also shot down the idea of making permanent mayoral control of city schools.
"Remember, mayoral control was basically an experiment," Cuomo, also a Democrat, said. "The point was, let's try this to see if it's better than the board of education system . . . and let's review it periodically to see how it's doing. I think it is doing well enough to extend it for three years."
Cuomo and de Blasio have said they are great friends but have clashed over the last 14 months. They appear bound for the same collision this year.
De Blasio said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was "woefully underfunded" under Cuomo's budget proposal. He also said the state should end "vacancy decontrol," the process of deregulated apartment rents.
He called "troubling" the governor's proposal to base 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation on scores by his or her students on standardized tests. He also fervently opposed Cuomo's ideas to have the state takeover failing schools -- such a step isn't necessary if an elected mayor has full power of the schools, he said.
"When you have that level of accountability, I don't think there's a need for state receivership," de Blasio told legislators.
Lawmakers politely sparred with the mayor on a few issues, but largely voiced concerns about specific issues (using trailers for student classrooms) or neighborhoods (bus lanes in Brooklyn).
Later, the mayor met the governor privately. Asked if Cuomo indicated he's willing to change his stances, de Blasio said: "Look, there's a process that happens up here . . . and there's always a lot of give and take. So I think it was an open and productive conversation, meaning I have phrased a series of concerns. He was receptive, nothing was concluded."