Andrew Cuomo to New York State School Districts: Drop Dead

Governor-in-Waiting Andrew Cuomo loves how lame duck Governor David Paterson has grown a set of balls and has rammed through nearly half the state budget through the piecemeal passage of budget extenders -- daring any legislator who votes no to be accused of voting to shut down state government.

The state fiscal year is nearly one-quarter over -- and there's still no adopted state budget. Governor Paterson has twice rammed through extenders to keep the state government operating -- and incorporated components of his budget proposal each time. Next up, supposedly, is the diciest and arguably most important part of the budget, education. On Fred Dicker's radio show on Friday, Andrew Cuomo suggested that the Governor embed a property tax cap in the next budget extender. What's that about? A property tax cap has nothing to do with the state budget. A bit of advice to the wanna-be Governor: take the job of being governor seriously. I serve on a school board in Westchester County -- and we've taken a look at the cost of state mandates on our budget (ergo our school tax burden) and in the aggregate they total over 15% of our entire school budget. Neither the Governor nor the legislature seems to be able to deal with rolling back state mandates (the unfunded costs for which get pushed down to local municipalities and school districts). That's hard. Advocating for a property tax cap? That's easy.

Fix our state government in Albany before you gut school districts' ways and means to fund the education of kids in New York State.