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Daily News Article on Eliot Spitzer

Our very own Samaria in Mr. Mac’s class shared this article on Mr. Spitzer with us. It is from the Daily News Thanks Sam.

Pop quiz for Spitzer

How deep will the city have to dig
for school funds? We need his answer

Eliot Spitzer is promising to finally settle the school funding lawsuit that has been hanging over New York for 13 years now – and deliver billions more to New York City’s schools.
What’s more, the Democratic front-runner in the governor’s race claims he can resolve the No. 1 headache facing state government without raising state taxes or shortchanging schools on Long Island or upstate.

But Spitzer is ducking and dodging on a crucial question: How much, if anything, will the city have to shell out to clean up Albany’s mess? He owes the already overtaxed voters of New York City a clear answer.

Spitzer has twice told the Daily News Editorial Board that he expects city residents to absorb part of the financial hit from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. What he did not say is how much.

“The … reality is that the city will contribute its fair share,” he said in July.

“You have a city contribution,” he said this month. “That is, I think, something most people understand should, must be part of this. I don’t want to quantify that right now.”

These statements should send chills down the spines of city residents. Spitzer estimates the settlement will ultimately cost between $4 billion and $6 billion a year. Even a small fraction of that amount would add substantially to the city’s tax burden, which is already among the heaviest in the nation. Before New Yorkers cast their ballots, they have a right to know how much more weight Spitzer would place on their shoulders.

When Spitzer says “most people” understand the city must pick up some of the cost, he really means most people in Albany – where pols are predictably eager to shove responsibility onto others. Mayor Bloomberg certainly isn’t on board. In a brief to the state’s highest court last month, his administration argued compellingly that the state should pay every dime.

Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo cited the Court of Appeals’ own landmark 2003 ruling, which found that Albany’s education budget had systematically shortchanged city schoolchildren for decades, violating their constitutional right to a decent education.

“The court should … ensure that the state does not defy its constitutional obligations yet again by literally passing the buck to the city,” Cardozo said.

City officials point out that taxes and mandates imposed by Albany already handicap the city’s economy. Plus, city residents and businesses supply about half of the state’s revenues, meaning they will pay more than their share of any settlement even if Albany writes the check.

If Spitzer has a convincing rebuttal for any of these arguments, he hasn’t supplied one to date.

Republican candidate John Faso, meanwhile, has been even more evasive, questioning the court’s authority to meddle in budget-making. He has a point, but it’s too late to make that case. The Court of Appeals has found a constitutional violation, and it’s the governor’s sworn duty to set it right. Asked for a real-world plan, Faso says he would focus on making sure existing education dollars are “spent wisely.”

That answer isn’t good enough, and neither is Spitzer’s. It has been 13 years since the lawsuit was filed, and three years since the high court demanded action. It’s long past time for men who would be governor to hand in their homework.