Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno called it "unconscionable" that a political action committee has been formed to try to oust Senate Republicans who do not support the state's pumping billions of dollars into public schools to settle a long-standing legal fight.
"We don't cater to threats," Bruno said of NY EdPAC, which last week vowed to raise $3 million to help defeat Senate Republicans this fall in an election in which Democrats are trying to take over control of the Senate.
The new group, formed by the League of Education Voters of America, is a national group. Its campaign in New York is led by two Democratic activists who have run Senate Democratic campaigns in the past. The group has condemned the Senate for not trying to resolve the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, still on appeal, in which the state has been ordered to sharply increase funding for New York City schools. The group wants the Senate to back a plan by the Democrat-led Assembly to fund the lawsuit settlement as well as to increase funding for other high-needs districts around the state, such as Buffalo.
But Bruno, speaking to reporters after addressing a meeting of the New York Conference of Mayors on Monday in Albany, called the decision in the lawsuit "inequitable and unjust."
"I don't care how many damn guys raise $3 million to take our members out," Bruno said of the new political action committee.
In his speech to the mayors, Bruno said the judge in the case, "in his lunacy," ordered the state to come up with a massive new explosion of education funding that is not affordable. "It's not going to happen -- because it's wrong," Bruno said.
He said NY EdPAC wants to remove Senate Republicans because they won't go along with a plan to add $7 billion to New York City's public schools.
NY EdPAC spokesman Jonathan Rosen said the New York budget has at least a $2 billion surplus to help fund education.
"Across New York, parents want fair funding of public schools," Rosen said. "If Sen. Bruno doesn't want to take action to fix our public education crisis . . . ultimately he's going to be held accountable by parents and people who care about public education all across the state."