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

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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.