Cuomo: Pre-K funding is ‘bigger conversation’

Andrew Cuomo. (Governor Andrew Cuomo)
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ALBANY—Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would not address funding for an expansion of pre-kindergarten services in his State of the State presentation on Wednesday, contradicting a report last night by Capital.

“It's a two-step process. … First decide what you're going to do, then decide how you're going to do it. We are on step one,” Cuomo said at a press conference to announce a tax-cutting proposal.

The governor, a Democrat, noted past statements of support in earlier State of the State addresses, as well as recommendations from his education reform commission.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a higher income tax on city residents to fund an expansion in New York City. Cuomo again refused to state definitively whether he would oppose or support such a plan, which has the backing of Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as Democrats and Independent Democrats in the State Senate. He previously indicated that he'd oppose the high-earner tax.

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New York already allocates around $400 million for pre-K, and Cuomo has expanded funding through competitive grants that have gone to 27 districts.

“There's no doubt that pre-K is the way to go, and it should be accelerated. I think we're going to have unanimity on that. I am not sure, but I think we will have unanimity on that goal,” said Cuomo. “It's a broader conversation with the Legislature once we all identify a fuller agenda for the year, the full sources for the year, where are they on this tax cut proposal. So it's a bigger conversation.”