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Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Will Fund Universal Pre-K

by Stephanie Colombini
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Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Will Fund Universal Pre-K

saebaryo http://www.flickr.com/photos/saeba/

Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal for state-funded universal Pre-K doesn't help New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's plan for a tax increase to fund it citywide.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined plans to phase in universal full-day Pre-Kindergarten in his budget address today. 

Cuomo says implementing universal full-day Pre-K is the single most advantageous reform a state can make.  And he says the state would be proud to fund it. 

"It's a priority, we believe in children, we believe in education.  Let's put our money where our mouth is; and let's make it a reality."

Cuomo wants to pay for universal Pre-K with money from the state's anticipated two billion dollar budget surplus.  That counters New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's plan to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers to expand Pre-K in the city.   He made his case clear at a press conference earlier Tuesday.

"I think they're so many things that we could do with additional state support.  That's why I think if we know we have a reliable funding source for Pre-K and afterschool, we should lock that in."

De Blasio says he'll continue to lobby Albany for the tax hike to fund universal Pre-K. 

Among other proposals, Governor Cuomo also outlined a five-year plan for property tax reform.  The plan calls for a temporary freeze on property taxes, which he says are the greatest burden on New Yorkers --  with more than 50 billion dollars collected annually.  Cuomo says taxes could be substantially lowered statewide if local governments started consolidating their services.

"You don't need any calculator to figure this out.  When you have as many levels of local government as we have, and you are supporting that many subdivisions, the cost is going to b high."

New York's fiscal year begins April 1.

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