Alex White, the Green Party’s candidate for mayor, unveiled his education plan
at a brief press conference yesterday. Given that White’s opponent, Democrat Lovely Warren, has made education the cornerstone of her campaign, White had to sa
y something on the topic. But his plan is really a repackaged version of the Green Party’s fight to end tax incentives for developers.
“While there is a lot a Rochester mayor can say about education policy, there is really only one thing a Rochester mayor can do about education policy, and that is to pay for it,” White said.
The only other way for the mayor to exercise influence over the district is mayoral control, he said, and he’s opposed to that.
White said that if the City of Rochester and COMIDA stopped giving incentives and loans to developers, they could provide more desperately needed money for education. (The Rochester school district is No. 7 in child poverty in the nation, according to the Children’s Agenda, a child advocacy organization. More than half of the city’s children live in poverty.)
“It’s a matter of priorities and, as mayor, my priority will be providing the funding we need for education over tax breaks for wealthy landlords.”
White’s point is well-taken, if fantastical. The city and COMIDA are not about to end incentives, and even if they did, they’d put the region at an extreme competitive disadvantage over communities who do offer the deals.
And if White, as mayor, did try to boost the assessments of buildings that he says are underassessed — another of his talking points – he’d probably run afoul of the state and face an avalanche of lawsuits from property owners.
But part of a third party’s role is to raise ideas and criticisms. So on that level, White is doing his job.