Dr. King Would Have Also Interrupted Governor Cuomo -- Barron Says

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[Op-Ed]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said; “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I could not sit through another Governor Andrew Cuomo State of the State address and listen to the fabrication, distortions, and empty rhetoric without lifting my voice in protest.

Let’s check out the hypocrisy in Cuomo’s address by contrasting Cuomo’s “spin” versus “reality.”

    •    Cuomo’s Spin: “It is also essential that our school districts have the necessary funds to do the job. I propose for this two year cycle, $2.1 billion increase, to $25 billion, the highest total spending on education in the history of New York State.”

    •    The Reality: There is no two year budget cycle. In reality the budget is negotiated yearly. Therefore his $2.1 billion increase is really $960 million for this year’s budget. This falls far short of the $2.4 billion increase the New York State board of regents recommended and far short of the $2.9 billion the Alliance for Quality Education recommended.

    •    Cuomo’s Spin: When Cuomo was running for Governor in 2010 he said, “I think the inequity in education is probably the civil rights issue of our time. There are two education systems in this state. Not public or private, one for the rich and one for the poor and they are both public systems.”  Cuomo said, “The state is supposed to equalize or come close to equalizing with its funding. That’s the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) that the state is yet to fully fund.” That was then, this is now.

    •    The Reality: The foundation aid is the funding formula that was designed to resolve the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding. The Governor’s 2016-17 budget includes only $266 million for foundation aid despite the fact that the state owes $4.4 billion in foundation aid to schools statewide. NYC is owed $2 billion in unpaid CFE money but would only get $169 million in foundation aid.

    •    Cuomo’s Spin: On the Homeless situation, Governor Cuomo claims to care so much for the homeless that he wanted the police to force them off of the streets during the winter cold. Many homeless individuals said that they would rather face the bitter cold of winter, than the dangerous inhumane conditions in the shelters.

    •    In Reality: In 2011-2012 Governor Cuomo cut 92 million dollars from the advantage program for the homeless. This would have given the homeless rent subsidies to find permanent housing. Over 14,000 homeless individuals suffered because of this cut. So, the Governor cuts their program and forces them on the streets and then wants the police to force them off the streets. This is a hypocritical contradiction!

    •    Cuomo’s Spin: The Governor was given big kudos for appointing the New York State Attorney General as “special” prosecutor for one year in police cases when deadly force is used.

    •    In Reality: For years activists have been calling for a permanent “independent” prosecutor in police cases when deadly force is used. One year Governor, you really think the police will stop abusing us after this year. This one is really absurd.

I could go on and on highlighting the Governor’s spins versus the reality that the people of the State of New York are forced to live with regarding the contradictions of the Governor’s state of the state address and his actual budget, but I think you get my point.

While an overwhelming majority of e-mails, texts, and phone calls were positive and supportive of my actions and issues, there are some who said this was neither the time nor the place.

Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Long live the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Forward ever


Hon. New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron

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