NEW YORK - Supporters of a plan for free universal pre-kindergarten say that it could save the city $3.5 billion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to raise income taxes for people who make $500,000 a year or more to help pay for preschool for 50,000 kids.

His backers say it will not only help the city's youth, but also benefit taxpayers in the long run.

The future of the universal pre-K plan now rests in the hands of New York State, which must approve the income tax hike before the program's funding can move forward.