Nixon: Raise taxes on rich to fund $7.3B plan for NY schools
NEW YORK (AP) — New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon announced a $7.3 billion plan on Wednesday to boost education from preschool through college and pay for it by increasing taxes on wealthy New Yorkers and corporations.
“When I am governor I will fully fund every school in every zip code,” said Nixon, who also promised to diversify New York state’s teaching work force and end discriminatory disciplining of black and Hispanic youths.
The former “Sex and the City” star is running against incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor. A Siena poll released Wednesday, exactly three months before New York’s primary, shows Cuomo leading Nixon 61 percent to 26 percent among likely Democratic voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Nixon’s plan would include $4.2 billion more for K-12 education, $700 million for expanded child care subsidies and $600 million to provide free tuition to an additional 170,000 State University of New York and City University of New York students
Nixon said Cuomo’s free-tuition program, called Excelsior, is so narrowly defined that only a small percentage of CUNY and SUNY students qualify. “When I am governor we will have a real college for all program,” she said.
Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said in a statement that New York spends more per pupil than any state in the nation — “a record $27 billion per year (a 36 percent increase since 2012).” She said New York is the only state in the country that pays full tuition for students going to two- or four-year schools.
Nixon said schools that serve predominantly black and Hispanic New Yorkers are underfunded and heavily policed compared with schools that serve white students.
“In New York City black and Latin students are 90 percent of all students arrested and 90.5 percent of all students who receive a summons,” Nixon said. “Is that right?”
She led supporters gathered at CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College in chanting “Schools not jails!”
Nixon also said she supports a plan championed by Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to overhaul the admissions process for the city’s elite specialized high schools, where fewer than 10 percent of students are black or Hispanic.
Nixon posed for photos with supporters after her speech but did not answer questions from the media.
Then she and campaign staffers walked two blocks to the subway and got on a Brooklyn-bound train. Riders gave no sign of noticing the celebrity in their midst.