COLONIE --Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo promised voters will know if his administration is a success or failure by next June.
Cuomo, who is running for governor, told the Times Union editorial board Tuesday that he will approach the budget process as a "three-dimensional chess game." He said he will launch a "counterattack" against special interest groups that oppose him and will treat legislators as "weather vanes" that will blow with a political wind that Cuomo pledged he would shift, as needed.
Cuomo said his budget would be more a "management document," because, as the state faces $8.2 billion more in deficits, "this is no longer a cutting or trimming exercise." Instead, a wholesale re-organization is needed, and Cuomo wants to move away from formula-based funding allotments toward performance-based metrics. He will push localities, including school districts and municipalities, to change their practices and compete against each other, a la the Race to the Top competition the federal Department of Education conducted to distribute additional school funding to states.
Cuomo promised to cut aid to school districts because, "the people of the state of New York have less money." Cuts could be mitigated, Cuomo said, if school districts come up with ways to develop "recurring" savings by consolidating bus service or even merging districts.
"The process is going to be torture," Cuomo said. He anticipated unions and other lobbying groups will attack him, but "they're running the same play."
Namely, the groups run advertisements attacking the cuts, and turn to allies in the Legislature. Already, when briefed on Cuomo's remarks, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said the proposal -- coupled with a pledge not to increase taxes and cap local property taxes levied by districts -- would be a "recipe for disaster" for districts. He favors taxing bonuses paid to Wall Street bankers or raising taxes on the rich. A court decision mandates that the state provide a "sound, basic education."
It's "basically holding school districts hostage and telling them that if they pay a ransom, he'll give them back some of the loot he's taken away from them," Iannuzzi said.
Cuomo acknowledged there will be blood.
Cuomo is going to slash school budgets, then have school districts compete against each other for money?
I fear the future in New York is going to be a very grave place.
I guess Little Andy has decided his hedge fund cronies don't have enough money, so he's going to take it out of the schools and give it to them.
You can bet charters won't see the same slash and burn on their budgets from Cuomo though.
After four years of Little Andy's Reign of terror, there will be little left of the public school system in the state.
And that is just the way Little Andy and the Wall Street people who own him want it.