Gov. Cuomo to Offer Plan to Pay for Statewide Universal Pre-K

By Colby Hamilton on January 21, 2014 10:51am | Updated on January 21, 2014 2:05pm

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo will reportedly offer $1.5 billion for statewide universal pre-K in his budget announcement on Jan. 21, 2014.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will reportedly offer $1.5 billion for statewide universal pre-K in his budget announcement on Jan. 21, 2014.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

CIVIC CENTER — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to unveil a plan to pay for universal pre-kindergarten across the state, in what could spell trouble for Bill de Blasio's plan to hike taxes to fund citywide programs.

Cuomo's budget address in Albany Tuesday will include a $1.5 billion, five-year UPK proposal that will dole out funds to any district in the state that wants it — along with more stringent regulations and teaching requirements, according to an administration source.

But those close to de Blasio say the money doesn't come close to the estimated $2.5 billion that the city needs to raise in the next five years to pay for his ambitious universal pre-K program. De Blasio has vowed to raise the funds by hiking taxes on New York City's wealthiest residents, a plan that has been repeatedly dismissed by Cuomo.

“The statewide program doesn’t even cover the needs for New York City,” a source said, adding that officials fear the funding stream for universal pre-K will ultimately come out of other education funding from the state.

“What [Cuomo's] really doing is robbing a grade schooler to pay a pre-schooler,” the source close to City Hall said.

Cuomo will propose at least $720 billion from future casino revenues in the state — a source that some fear could be too tenuous to provide stable funding streams.

But the Cuomo administration disputed the suggestion that there could be any changes to universal pre-k funds, once implemented. In addition, an administration source said a tax hike has the potential to be much less reliable than what the Governor is promoting.

Still, whatever Cuomo ends up proposing is already a win for de Blasio, sources close to the mayor said.

“No matter what happens from here on out, nobody could say this isn't a victory for the mayor,” the source said. “He turned a quiet discussion into a front-page story and nobody can deny that.”

Cuomo’s office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Neighborhood Sponsors

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement