Governor Cuomo on Pre-K Funding: "Forget the Numbers, We Will Fund the Need"

Monday, March 10, 2014

(New York State Office of the Governor/flickr)

As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continue to fight over how universal pre-k will be paid for, the Governor told Brian Lehrer that his plan to fund statewide programs through the normal budget process is the only viable approach. Saying that he's in touch with mayors throughout the state, Cuomo reiterated that "whatever they need, we have the funding ready."

In response to de Blasio's contention that a dedicated New York City tax on the wealthy would be the only way to guarantee continued funding, Cuomo said, "There's nothing more certain about a tax than a normal budget bill." The Governor said once pre-k is part of the budget process its funding would be similar to any other school grade — and "once you start funding a grade" it's virtually impossible to stop.

When asked about the number of seats he thinks the budget process could accommodate in New York City and elsewhere, Cuomo did not offer specifics but said there would be sufficient funds. "As quickly as cities bring it on line, we will fund it. Whatever they need, we have the funding ready," said the Governor.

More highlights from the interview embedded below.


Andrew Cuomo

Comments [22]

Carlos from Queens

He sounds like such an arrogant windbag. It's almost like he has no time to bother with the people that elected him. I'm never voting for this guy again.

First of all the whole "we'll fund it" argument is moot by the mere fact that Pre-K is not required, so on any tight year we're bound to hear "Sorry, we can't afford it anymore." They do it with Mental Services all the time, and those services are just as vital. If he thinks he's gonna run for President with this attitude I am laughing.

Mar. 10 2014 04:15 PM
Peter from Park Slope

Brian, did you happen to notice that Governor Cuomo appropriated Chirlaine McCray's line from about two weeks ago about pre-K education's being "the defining civil rights issue of our time?" I can't remember if he used "defining" or "foremost" or another term, but I think the intent was plain enough. Yet the latest example of Cuomo's outflanking de Blasio . . . and likely not the last.

Mar. 10 2014 11:58 AM

No real New Yorker would be in floridia.

Mar. 10 2014 11:54 AM
Ann from View of the World from 9th Avenue

Yadi, yada, yada. No opinion of Christie's appointee just because he's Christie's appointee? And this notwithstanding that the Port Authority is inextricably linked to New York? I hope that the next time Cuomo expresses an opinion on something that is outside of his direct domain (which he will undoubtedly do before he announces that he is running for national office), I hope you'll call him out on it. But the real issue is why he should not have an opinion on anything having to do with the Port Authority? Politically inconvenient for his run for national office?

Mar. 10 2014 11:53 AM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights

Bah, humbug.

Brian, when will you address the massive unconstitutional underfunding of schools in NYS & NYC?

Present a segment on the continued struggle to implement the Campaign For Fiscal Equity.

Invite its lead attorney, Michael Rebell to explain why what the Governor has said is inaccurate and unreliable, and why therefore a new lawsuit has been filed after he tried to serve on the Governor's so called Education Reform Commission.

Mar. 10 2014 11:51 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's not that opponents of the charter school system don't want to try *anything* new. It's that they don't like the way it's done. Gov. Cuomo is mischaracterizing their position in order to dismiss it.

Mar. 10 2014 11:49 AM
Jennifer from Bedford, NY

I wish the Governor would comment on the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The GEA is a formula in the NY state budget that reduces the amount of aid each school district is LEGALLY owed so that the state can close its budget gap. Essentially, a huge IOU to current sstudents!

Mar. 10 2014 11:46 AM
Bess from NYC

Gov. Cuomo, the charter school movement is a "free-market" GOP scheme to privatize education and get rid of public education, and by supporting it you're getting in bed with a very questionable segment of our (American) population. Please stop.

Mar. 10 2014 11:46 AM
Dean Bell from park slope

Ask the governor if he thinks Rye, NY's public HS is failing? Are ALL public school's failing? What about Stuvesant?

Mar. 10 2014 11:45 AM

His dismissal of the charter school takeover of our public school properties is quite disappointing.

Bloomberg shut down too many schools & left neighborhoods without educational resources.

He's just another ClintonGOPlite.

Mar. 10 2014 11:45 AM

NY is hemorrhaging millionaires. Their tax & estate accountants tell them they can't afford to die in NY. They move to Florida, with no estate nor income tax. Who will continue to pay the NY millionaires tax?

Mar. 10 2014 11:44 AM
Sue from Manhatta

I'm a moderate Democrat who supports the Governor and rejects the polarizing attitude of Mayor de Blasio.

Mar. 10 2014 11:43 AM
SKV from NYC

Can someone please explain to Andrew Cuomo that the dripping contempt in his voice for DeBlasio's attempt to tax the rich for the good of the rest of society is being taken as a personal insult by all of us who voted for him for exactly this reason?

Andrew Cuomo is fast losing this former supporter. Just stop it. Just stop blocking a true progressive agenda.

Mar. 10 2014 11:42 AM
Elaine from LI

The Governor is speaking with such an arrogant and dismissive tone that it sounds like a scarey borderline personality disorder.

Mar. 10 2014 11:42 AM

Your kids will be in high school before cuomo gets this pre k deal together.

Mar. 10 2014 11:41 AM
matt from manhattan

The problem the gov is ignoring in the funding is that 1-12 grades are required. That is you must to go school in those grades. PrK and K are not required so that makes it much easier to remove the funding

Mar. 10 2014 11:40 AM
matt from manhattan

The problem the gov is ignoring in the funding is that 1-12 grades are required. That is you must to go school in those grades. PrK and K are not required so that makes it much easier to remove the funding

Mar. 10 2014 11:40 AM
Karen from NYC

and condescending.

Mar. 10 2014 11:40 AM
Karen from NYC

Brian, can you ask him why he sounds so impatient and irritated? Doesn't he want to hear the Mayor's side? He sounds very dismissive.

Mar. 10 2014 11:38 AM
Josh Karan from Washington Heigts

Why should Governor Cuomo be believed about adequate funding for UPK when he is currently being sued by a statewide coalition of education advocates for unconstitutional non-compliance with providing adequate funding under the Campaign For Fiscal Equity settlement?

How can he claim that NYS spends too much money for education?
Maybe his district in Chappaqua does, but how about Utica, Albany, Binghamton, and NYC which spend a fraction of what his, and other high wealth districts do?

Mar. 10 2014 11:36 AM
Arthur Bell from Park Slope

Ask the Governor if he has become a Republican. No tax increases even if it means universal Pre-K. Starving schools with a 2% annual increase which is basically a flat line to accommodate inflation. (This after years of cuts.) A $400 million dollar give-away to NYS homeowners -- NYC homeowners NOT included. But what made me sick was his leading a rally and rousing the crowd for Charter schools! None of these are Democratic positions. He sounds more like Christie every day. Is he going to announce for the RNC nomination? We had a meeting with our State Assembly member yesterday and no one can believe this is our DEMOCRATIC governor.

Mar. 10 2014 11:12 AM
John from Bklyn

Why did Gov. Cuomo and his Port Authority reps passively collaborate with Bill Baroni’s phony Bridgegate testimony?

Mar. 10 2014 10:39 AM

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