In his weekly radio address, the mayor claimed Albany lawmakers haven't done a good job when it comes to getting the city more education aid. The accusations left some state lawmakers puzzled because as it turns out, state aid to the city actually increased this fiscal year. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't spend much time during his radio show specifically discussing state education aid to New York City, but he did say the state has cut back how much aid it gives the city and that lawmakers in Albany aren’t doing a good job.
"The state has cut back dramatically the amount of aid they give New York City. And if people don't like it I would suggest you call the local assembly people and senators, they represent us in Albany, and I don't think they have done a very good job of representing us in Albany,” Bloomberg said.
The comment drew immediate condemnation from Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell of Manhattan, who sits on the Assembly’s Education Committee.
"That is absolutely untrue. In the last ten years since I have been here, the state has increased the city's education budget by two Billion dollars,” O’Donnell said.
According to state figures, the state allocated more than $8 billion to New York City Schools this fiscal year. That is actually an increase of more than $360 million from last year and $180 million more than the governor's original proposal.
Mayor Bloomberg's office claims the city's schools budget has ballooned to nearly $25 billion, and as a result the percentage put in by the city is now much larger than the state's. It used to be even.
"I don't know where the money goes. They obviously spend an awful lot of money on consulting contracts and other things. The money that we send is supposed to be there to educate the children and belongs in the classroom, not in other places,” O’Donnell said.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has proposed a tax on wealthier New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-kindergarten in the city. That tax would need to be approved by the state.
"Our Governor has said no new taxes, but he’s gonna be, there is gonna be a lot of pressure on him from unions to increase taxes for New York City to give big raises and, you know, he's got to stand tough,” Bloomberg said on his radio show.
Governor Cuomo has not ruled out a tax increase, he says that's a conversation he'll need to have with the mayor-elect in January. However, he has also been going around saying that in his 2014 re-election year, his intention is to enact tax cuts for New Yorkers.