The need to work for the common cause

In Albany, the state legislature is putting the finishing touches on their budget proposals. Once reconciled into a final version, they’ll submit them to the governor. Because of this, it’s urgent to strike a deal to implement a viable universal pre-K program.

Since Mayor Bill de Blasio got sworn in, he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been going back and forth on education for NYC and New York State. Thisfeud doesn’t benefits no one, especially our students.

While they can’t agree on how to reach the same goal, 3- and 4-year-old latino children in the City are the ones who benefit the least from pre-K programs. Of them, 50.4% aren’t properly registered, versus 29.4% of whites and 39.6% of African Americans.

This week, the Assembly included in its plan a modest tax increase for those in the City who earn more than $500,000 per year, which would be used exclusively to fund pre-K and after-school programs. The governor, on the other hand, said that the state can provide funding without tax hikes. Now it’s time for the divided Senate and the governor to act, because the math doesn’t add up. The governor’s budget simply isn’t enough to cover the cost of universal pre-K—much less for both universal pre-K and after-school programs, in NYC and the State.

The interested parties must reach a deal. Even though de Blasio’s proposal for the City is feasible and sustainable, it’s urgent to demand an equal deal for needy residents of NYC and the State. According to Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, if the City is allowed to pay for its own programs, then the state would have more monetary resources to create its universal program—and the word “universal” can be applied correctly in the State, like both officials are proposing.

The mayor won his election. The governor is running for re-election and obviously, a proposal to raise taxes wouldn’t help his campaign among voters who live outside the City. Daring moves are what leads to progress, as opposed to a bureaucratic standstill. Therefore, these politicians from the same party must find a winning formula, with or without a tax hike.

The Latino community and other minorities need a guarantee that Albany can legislate to benefit the people and not political interests. With only three weeks to get it done, the time to do it is now.