A number of real estate executives have come out today in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s plan to tax high-earners to fund universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, representing the latest group of executives to join a grassroots campaign called UPKNYC, Commercial Observer has learned.
The new backers include David Von Spreckelsen, division president of Toll Brothers; Don Capoccia, founder of BFC Partners; Christopher Havens, co-chair of Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable; architect Jonathan Kirschenfeld; Tom Montvel-Cohen, president of the DUMBO Business Improvement District; Jonathan Marvel, founder of Marvel Architects; David Behin, president of investment sales at MNS Real Estate; Jerome Kretchmer, founder of The Kretchmer Companies; and Century 21 Department Stores.
“The time is now to make a proven investment in New York City’s children,” Mr. Spreckelsen said in a prepared statement. “We have a smart, fair plan on the table that, by asking a little more of the city’s most successful, will secure our economic prosperity for decades to come. I’m proud to support New York City’s plan and urge our leaders in Albany to do the same.”
Mr. de Blasio is calling for a five-year increase in city income tax on those earning in excess of $500,000 to 4.41 percent from 3.876 percent, which would yield approximately $530 million in new revenue. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the state to pay for the education initiatives using existing revenues.
Mr. Capoccia noted: “The small tax that New York City has proposed is a small price to pay to make sure we are giving all of our children a high-quality education and a chance at success. Research shows the power of investing in early education and after-school and it’s time to make these programs a reality citywide.”
Other endorsements of Mr. de Blasio’s plan have come from Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management; David Kramer, principal of The Hudson Companies; real estate developer Leonard Litwin (who is also Mr. Cuomo’s single largest campaign donor); and Don Peebles, CEO of the Peebles Corp., according to news reports.
Update: This story has been edited to reflect a comment from Don Capoccia, founder of BFC Partners.