New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New Yorkers Unite In Response To Republican Leader Dean Skelos

“To deny a vote on something as urgently-needed and as widely-supported as funding universal pre-kindergarten is just plain wrong. I commend Senator Klein, Senator Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Silver for standing up for a vote on this critical issue. Politicians in Albany have failed to meet their commitment to pay for universal pre-K time and time again, which is exactly why New York City must chart its own destiny. It’s time for Albany to give New York the home-rule right to ask the wealthiest to pay just a little more in taxes, and I applaud our Democratic allies from across the state who stand with us in fighting for this critical investment.” - NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio 

“I and the Assembly Majority have been advocating for universal pre-k for 20 years. Senator Skelos' position is unacceptable and we will not take a viable option off the table.” - Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver

"I will not approve a budget that fails to realize the vision Mayor de Blasio and I share of providing high-quality, universal pre-k to the 50,000 four year olds who need it. Mayor de Blasio's plan is the only one that provides New York City with the funding it needs to achieve that goal. Senate Republicans comprise a minority in this chamber--they want more support for business tax cuts and we want more support for our kids. Only by working together can we achieve a balance that works for everyone." - Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein

"It is unfortunate that a minority of Senators are allowed to block an issue of such importance to the largest city in New York State. I would hope that the Coalition leadership would allow a vote on this proposal." - Senate Democrat Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

"It is unfortunate that Senator Skelos is opposing a plan to help improve educational opportunities for New York City's students.  Our children deserve to receive the academic training necessary to close the achievement gap, and prepare them for higher education, and a global workforce. We cannot afford to wait, and allow more and more children to fall behind because of a lack of early preparation and resources.  I believe in giving our children every opportunity and advantage to succeed, and I urge Senator Skelos to change his position, andjoin us in supporting a proposal that will literally change the lives of our city's children." - New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, President Vincent Alvarez

“The 250,000 nurses and healthcare workers of 1199SEIU throughout New York State call on Senate Republicans to allow a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s proposal for universal pre-K. This is one of the most important policies for addressing inequality, providing more opportunities to our children, and ensuring a better future for our city and our state. Studies prove that universal pre-k has enormous economic and social benefits, and disprove the absurd myth that a half a percent tax would drive the rich out of New York City. Those who have benefitted most from the economic recovery should be proud to contribute to this effort, and New York City should have the right to determine our own local taxes. We will be bringing hundreds of our members to Albany to express directly to our state legislators that this is one of our highest priorities, and we will remember in the Fall elections who took a stand for working families.” Kevin Finnegan, Political Director of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

“The Senate Republicans should stop blocking a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to provide universal pre-k to all New York City children. There is widespread agreement on the benefits of early childhood education, and it is an issue that our members feel passionately about. Thetiny tax on the city’s wealthiest residents is a very small price to pay for helping to level the playing field for the city’s youngest and most vulnerable residents. Our members will make their voices heard in Albany on this issue.” Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU

"We urge the state Senate to bring this to a vote, and to respect what the people of New York City have said. We have to continue to push for a dedicated funding stream so that we make good on the promise of all-day pre-k for all our students." - Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers

It is disappointing that Senator Skelos feels the need to stop a much-needed proposal from being voted upon. The proposalwould allow many working New Yorkers to be able to send their children to pre-school, which study after study shows will increase their chances of success in life. This proposal is not too much to ask of wealthy New Yorkers. Senator Skelos should give his members the chance to vote, so that the majority can decide what is best for NYC residents.” -Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and DepartmentStore Union (RWDSU)

"The Teamsters Joint Council 16 call on Senator Skelos to allow a vote on New York City's proposal for quality, universal pre-k and after-school programs. These programs are vital to the well-being of our working families and larger economy. We urge the State Senate to allow a democratic vote on this overwhelmingly popular proposal."- Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda

"New York City's plan for Universal Pre-K and after school is popular not just in the city but across the entire state, and deserves a full vote.  Home rule requests from other localities routinely come to the floor in the Senate, and the Pre-K plan should be no different -- especially given Albany's long history of paying lip service, but not the funds needed, to Universal Pre-k." -Bob MasterLegislative and Political Director for District One of the Communications Workers of America

"For 15 years, the state has promised universal pre-kindergarten for our families, and now that there is finally a plan to get it done, the Senate leadership should reconsider and allow a simple up or down vote. An overwhelming majority of voters strongly supports Mayor de Blasio's universal pre-k plan, and the Senate should give New York City theability to govern itself."  - Devin Maroney, Hotel Trades Council

 Shame on @SenatorSkelos for blocking a vote on @deBlasioNYC’s pre-K plan. Parents deserve to know how lawmakers stand & kids deserve #UPK. - @RepJerryNadler

In our system of democracy, elections have consequences. Mayor de Blasio campaigned on a pledge to expand access to early childhood education by increasing taxes on the very rich. He was elected, in a landslide. Now, he wants to fulfill that pledge to the people of New York City. We should not renounce our authority as participants in this democracy to determine for ourselves the future of the city we share.” – Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

“Today, Senator Dean Skelos publicly stated that he will not allow a vote on constitutionally authorized home-rule legislation that would implement the cornerstone components of Mayor de Blasio’s Universal Pre- Kindergarten plan—including the funding mechanism—an exceptionally modest surcharge on NYC’s wealthiest. This type of preemptive prognostication has no place in the legislative process of a representativedemocracy like the Senate where 63 individuals are elected to express and act upon local priorities. Ironically, myself and all of my colleagues stood on the Senate floor just last week and earnestly supported Senator Skelos when he brought much needed home rule legislation (Senate Bill 5922) to the floor that would authorize the Town of Long Beach to issue bonds to help pay for Hurricane Sandy related damages. It was the right thing to do and we had his back; today it appears that his back is turned on our youngest and most vulnerable. Theconstitutionally protected right of home rule—and the educational future of NYC’s three and four year olds—cannot be subject to the ideological whims and political calculations of a single State Senator. Therefore, I urge SenatorSkelos to honor the principle of home rule and let Mayor de Blasio’s Universal Pre- K plan to the floor for a vote when the Senate receives a home rule message from the NYC Council—just as we did with Senate Bill 5922 when the Town of Long Beach needed our support.” - Senator Bill Perkins

“The State Senate governing coalition must allow a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s plan for a reliable and adequate funding stream to provide Universal Pre-K in New York City. The Mayor won election on this proposal with the largest margin for a newly-elected mayor since the Consolidation of New York City in 1898. It would be an affront to the voters of New York City if the Senate does not bring the Mayor’s proposal to the floor.” - Senator Brad Hoylman

I think Republican Leader Skelos SHOULD make plans to give full and fair consideration of the Mayor’s request to tax City residents to fund pre-k— and that means hearings and a floor vote. – Borough President Gale Brewer (Facebook)

"New York City needs a dedicated source of funding for universal pre-kindergarten. For Dean Skelos to say he will prevent a vote on this issue is very short sighted.  Study after study has shown that children who receive early childhood education perform demonstrably better later in life than those who don't receive it.  It's right to ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share of tax dollars.  The Mayor's plan will help create a better, stronger New York City for generations to come." Council Education Committee Chair Council Member Daniel Dromm

 “What Senator Skelos fails to mention is the fact the Governor Cuomo’s offer does not provide a long-term solution to keeping Universal Pre-K in our schools. Mayor de Blasio’s plan ensures a sustainable future for these services in our city. As Chair of the Committee on State and Federal Legislation, I will continue to push Albany to move the Mayor’s plan forward regardless of Senator Skelos’ threat to block a vote. The future of our children’s education is worth it.” Council State and Federal Legislation Committee Chair Council Member Karen Koslowitz

"The city has a clear, detailed and comprehensive plan to bring pre-k and afterschool to all of New York City'schildren. It has the strong support of New Yorkers. Albany has a mandate tohear the voice of New York City residents and allow it to come to a vote." Council Governmental Operations Committee Chair Council Member Ben Kallos

"Mayor de Blasio was elected on the promise to expand pre-kindergarten through a tax on the wealthiest individuals. The voters of the largest city in the state of New York mandated it. It is disgraceful for Senator Skelos and his minority coalition to disregard the will of the people, and it is simply immoral to choose the wealthy over our children." Council Women’s Issues Committee Chair Laurie Cumbo

“It makes no sense for Senator Skelos, the co-leader of the Senate, to block a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s pre-K plan. New York City has offered up a plan to provide quality pre-K for all four-year-olds and to pay for it on their own, but Senator Skelos seems to prefer having the state shoulder the burden of these costs.  We agree with Senator Klein, the other co-leader of the Senate, that any pre-K plan for New York City needs to cover all four-year-olds.  Senator Skelos has echoed the Governor in saying that the Governor’s plan will cover all four-year-olds in New York City, but in fact, it would only cover one-eighth of four-year-olds this year.” - Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education

"Senator Skelos seems to have no problem letting towns and cities outside of New York City raise their taxes. To say that the families of New York City don't get a chance to see where their legislators stand on their city's plan to provideuniversal pre-K and afterschool programs is offensive and anti-democratic. As Mayor de Blasio showed in his State of the City address today, this is about people like Make the Road member Rocio Espada who just want the best for their kids." Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York.

“Senator Skelos’ statement today declaring there would be no vote on the City’s pre-k and after-school proposal is simply unacceptable. New York City should have home rule authority to raise its own taxes for the long-awaited expansion of programs that our children desperately need.   Denying a vote on this crucial matter is a violation of the democratic process and ignores the historic precedent established under Mayors Dinkins, Giuliani and Bloomberg as well as the votes the Senate regularly takes to allow other cities, towns and counties to raise their taxes,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York.

“It’s disappointing that Senator Skelos has unilaterally decided that New York’s children don’t deserve a vote on the City’s plan to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers a small amount to ensure that the city can provide universal, quality pre-K and afterschool programs.  The State Senate votes on lots of home rule measures for lots of places. The least they could do is afford New York’s children the same respect," said Melanie Hartzog, Executive Director, Children's Defense Fund of New York.

“New York’s plan deserves a vote," said Michelle Yanche, Assistant Executive Director for Government and External Relations at Good Shepherd Services.  “For over 15 years we’ve waited on funding from the state.  It’s time Albany gives the City the right to do what more than 70 percent of New Yorkers agree with, allow NYC to create a dedicated funding stream to fund universal pre-k and expanded after-school programs."

"Let the members of the Senate vote on New York City’s plan to provide a dedicated funding stream that guarantee all children have access to full-day pre-K and after-school programs. Denying a vote on legislation that has such overwhelming support is back room politics at its worst,” said Gregory Brender, Policy Analyst at United Neighborhood Houses of New York.

"Senator Skelos' opposition to a vote on the pre-k tax is OUTRAGEROUS and a roadblock on the path to a successful school system." - Council Member Antonio Reynoso

Ydanis Rodriguez @ydanis
Let Republican NYS Senate Leader @SenatorSkelos know that NYers want @UPKNYC!

Jimmy Van Bramer @JimmyVanBramer
We need a vote on @UPKNYC#SenSkelos decision is unacceptable. It's bad for kids, bad for our future!

Debi Rose @CMDebiRose
 Dean Skelos, NYC needs a SUSTAINABLE funding stream for UPK, don't stymie the vote !

Helen Rosenthal @HelenRosenthal
Shame on @SenatorSkelos for not allowing vote on NYC' tax plan to pay for UPK.  #OurKidsDeserveAVote

Corey Johnson @CoreyinNYC
Shameful of Skelos putting the wealthy ahead of kids. He must allow a vote on NYC request tax@UPKNYC. Skelos + Albany taking NYC hostage.

Debi Rose @CMDebiRose
 Dean Skelos refuses to allow a vote on UPK tax on higher wage earners. What say you IDC.

Daniel Dromm @Dromm25
It is very short sighted for Skelos to say he will prevent a vote on @UPKNYC. Help improve education for generations of NYers!

Mark D. Levine @MarkLevineNYC
How does the GOP, the putative "party of liberty", justify not allowing NYC to determine its own tax policy? #OurKidsDeserveAVote @UPKNYC

Mark D. Levine @MarkLevineNYC
NY Senate leader says won't allow vote onNYC' tax plan to pay for UPK.  That's not democracy. #OurKidsDeserveAVote

Brad Lander @bradlander
Shameful for Skelos to say he won't allow a vote on NYC request for high-income earner tax@UPKNYC. Small-minded, short-sighted, bad gov't.

@RitchieTorresShame on Skelos for denying NYC the right to invest in its children.

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