City Hall, Manhattan – Three days before the start of 2014 state legislative session, Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) renewed his call for Albany’s approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-k plan and released a new economic report detailing the major, long-term benefits of doing so. According to the report, An Economic Argument for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K Plan, New York City will earn a $3.7 billion return on investment if it enacts the program.
"It's been decisively proven by a generation of research that providing free, universal pre-kindergarten is a game-changer that tears down barriers to opportunity and delivers an overwhelming return on investment. I commend Senator Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Caucus for adding a powerful voice to this cause, and putting their weight behind our plan to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers so every child can have a better chance to succeed," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Universal pre-k is clearly one of the best investments our city can make. By investing in the Mayor’s pre-k plan, we’re giving our kids the tools to live healthier, safer, and richer lives,” Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein said. “That’s why when I go back to Albany next week, passing Mayor de Blasio’s full plan will be one of my top priorities. Our city’s working families deserve this plan and I intend to make it a reality. With billions of dollars in new savings and revenue on the line, every lawmaker should get behind this plan as soon as possible.”
New York City’s long-term economic benefits will be driven in three main areas: (1) increased earnings by those who attend full-day pre-k, (2) a citywide drop in crime and incarceration rates, and (3) a sharp reduction in mental health issues and substance abuse rates among those who complete a full day pre-k program. The report’s total economic benefits were calculated over a 26-year period.
The report also underscores the need for a dedicated funding stream to help pay for the program, citing erratic and inconsistent funding in recent years for the state’s existing, partial day pre-k program. Under Mayor de Blasio’s plan, universal pre-k and expanded after-school programs would be paid for by an income tax surcharge on the city’s wealthiest residents.
Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said, “Full day, universal pre-k is an economic imperative for New York City. Working families deserve the same opportunities for their children as any other parents in our city. How can we deny our kids the opportunity to lead better, healthier lives, all the while improving our city? We can’t. We need to get this done and I have every confidence that we will.”