Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday reiterated his opposition to a tax on the wealthy to fund a New York City pre-kindergarten expansion, arguing that it wouldn’t be a funding system that could be replicated statewide.
Cuomo, taking questions after an unrelated press conference, was asked repeatedly about the budget battle over universal pre-kindergarten and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to fund it with an income-tax increase on the city’s wealthy.
While that may work in New York City, Cuomo said, it wouldn’t work in other parts of the state with fewer high-income earners. And Cuomo said he supports a universal, full-day pre-K statewide, not just in the city.
“I want a universal, full-day program for the state,” Cuomo said. “New York City? Yes. Also Buffalo, also Rochester, also Syracuse, also Albany, also Long Island. Every child in this state.”
He continued: “Well, how do you pay for it? A tax on New York City? No. Statewide system should be paid by the state and we should share our resources to fund this statewide priority.”
Cuomo has proposed spending $1.5 billion in state funds over the next five years to expand full-day pre-K across the state. Critics of Cuomo’s plan say that won’t be enough money; de Blasio has estimated it would cost more than $2 billion in New York City alone, and he wants the city program up and running by September.
“I’m ready,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “As fast as he is ready to move, I am ready.”
(Mike Groll/ AP file photo)