ALBANY, N.Y. Jan. 28, 2021 — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta will testify today at a joint legislative budget hearing on K-12 education that the use of significant federal funds to supplant, rather than supplement, state funding for education sets public schools up for long-term harm. Instead, to generate the revenues needed to fund public services like education in the years to come, the state must enact new taxes on the ultrawealthy.
In his testimony, Pallotta will share with lawmakers the challenges educators have grappled with during the coronavirus pandemic and how the pre-existing needs of students — such as the need for additional mental health services and technology for a 21st Century education — have only been exacerbated in the past 10 months. While federal stimulus funding for education is welcome, Pallotta notes that under the “worst case scenario” executive budget this one-shot funding is coupled with a significant decrease in state funding for education. In the coming years, this would create a situation reminiscent of the Gap Elimination Adjustment that shortchanged schools in the years following the last recession.
“While our public schools definitely need significant federal resources, using funding from Washington to supplant, rather than supplement, state support for education is the wrong approach,” Pallotta said. “When we say it’s time for the state to fund our future, that isn’t a slogan. It’s a moral imperative now more than ever. We can and should raise new revenues in this state to help fund public services long term.”
NYSUT’s full written testimony can be found here.
Earlier this week, NYSUT launched a new statewide advertising campaign calling on the state to implement new taxes on the ultrawealthy to help fund critical public services, including K-12 schools, higher education and health care. The union supports revenue proposals that include a wealth tax on New Yorkers with more than $1 billion in wealth, a new ultra-millionaires tax on those with incomes over $5 million, a pied-à-terre tax and a corporate tax rate that matches what was levied on corporations and real estate prior to federal tax cuts in 2017.
The Fund Our Future campaign will continue throughout the budget season. More information on the union’s advocacy can be found at FundOurFutureNY.org.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.