More New York state voters back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Quinnipiac University found 47 percent backed Cuomo’s proposal, which calls for an expansion of full-day pre-K statewide with the promise of $1.5 billion in existing state funds over the next five years.
A total of 37 percent of those polled backed de Blasio’s plan, which would implement a tax on New York City’s wealthy to pay for full-day, universal pre-K in the city. De Blasio has said an expansion would cost more than $2 billion in the city alone, and it would need a reliable funding stream to ensure it works.
Overall, 76 percent of state voters generally back funding universal pre-K, according to Quinnipiac.
“Just about everyone in this most liberal of states likes universal pre-kindergarten and they think — overwhelmingly — that kids will learn and that it will help them out of poverty,” Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said in a statement. “But voters prefer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s no-new-taxes approach to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tax-the-rich plan to pay for those new classes.”
The battle over schooling for four-year-olds has dominated public discussion in Albany as lawmakers continue to examine Cuomo’s $137.2 billion budget proposal. The state faces a March 31 deadline to have a new spending plan in place for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins April 1.
Cuomo has declined to support de Blasio’s tax plan, instead pushing for a three-year series of tax cuts as part of his budget.
But others have questioned whether Cuomo’s $1.5 billion pre-K pledge would be enough to fund a statewide expansion. State Education Commissioner John King said during budget testimony last month that full-day, universal pre-K across the state could cost as much as $1.6 billion annually.
Quinnipiac polled 1,488 New York voters by phone between Feb. 6 and 10, according to the poll. The survey has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.