Former city Controller Bill Thompson on Monday deployed national teachers' union boss Randi Weingarten to pooh-pooh Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund pre-K with a tax hike on the wealthy as a “great soundbite” -- and little else.
“When you put out a plan that basically says, ‘We’ll raise money from the rich so that we can actually fund pre-K’ when Albany has already called it dead on arrival’... it sounds non-serious,” said Weingarten, who headed the United Federation of Teachers when Thompson ran the now-defunct Board of Education.
“It sounds like it’s a talking point,” continued Weingarten, who repeatedly praised de Blasio's "idealism" during a conference call with reporters but said Thompson would be the mayoral manager who could put together a plan to achieve real change for the schools before going hat in hand to the State Capitol.
Well, if anybody should know what am empty soundbite and talking point sounds like, it's certainly Randi Weingarten.
Let's revisit Weingarten offering some empty talking points and soundbites of her own after she stole the microphone from Asean Johnson yesterday at the commemoration of the March on Washington:
How's that for empty rhetoric spewed by someone loaded with talking points and little else?
As for Weingarten's point that de Blasio won't be able to get Albany approval for his tax hike on rich people (a claim that was made in the NY Times endorsement of Quinn and is now quickly becoming CW), the de Blasio campaign had a quick response:
De Blasio on Monday parried the attack in part by unveiling an endorsement from education historian Diane Ravitch, who in a campaign release specifically cheered the idea of gleaning more money to fund pre-K by taxing high earners.
A spokesman for de Blasio, who’s jumped to the head of the primary pack in recent polls, noted "every one of the past three mayors has won approval for local income tax increases for New York City.”
In continuing response to Weingarten's brush-off, de Blasio rep Dan Levitan added, “if you're not prepared to be ambitious on behalf of saving a generation of kids and millions more from a 'Tale of Two Cities,' you shouldn’t be running.”
Hey, that's a pretty good three-pronged response.
Well, Randi, Diane Ravitch likes my idea.
The last three mayors have gotten approval from Albany for tax hikes.
And if we're not going to go big for kids, what should we go big for?
Pretty good response from the de Blasio campaign.
Your move, Randi.