Cardinal Dolan, Labor Leaders, Faith Leaders, Business Leaders, Parents and Students Unite Behind Education Investment Tax Credit With unions representing more than 255,000 working women and men, gathering urges Gov. Cuomo and state Legislature to pass tax credit in new state budget NEW YORK – Major New York City labor leaders, representing more than 255,000 working men and women, today united with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, other faith leaders, business, students and parents in urging Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature to approve, as part of the new state budget, a bill that would increase charitable donations to public schools and scholarships for low-income and working family students looking to attend parochial and other private schools.
At a news conference this morning at Cathedral High School in Manhattan, Cardinal Dolan was joined by 32BJ/SEIU, New York Police Department PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, FNDY Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York President Steve Cassidy, Agudath Israel of American Vice President Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish, retired business and community leader Robert Catell, students, parents, community leaders and many other business and labor leaders.
“The time to pass this bill is now,” Cardinal Dolan said. “With the support of so many of our state’s great labor unions and business leaders, and so many of my brothers and sisters in ministry, I think we have a great chance to do so.”
32BJ/SEIU President Hector Figueroa, who heads the nation’s largest property service workers union with more than 145,000 members, including 75,000 in New York City, said: "In our effort to make good quality education accessible to all our children we stand with those who seek to improve our public school system while preserving alternatives that for generations have complemented and strengthened the mission of public education. This legislation increases access for poor and working class children without undermining the resources available to our public schools. We ask the Legislature to support working families and approve the Education Investment Tax Credit as part of this year's state budget, so that opportunities can come even more quickly to our increasingly diverse community of children."
NYC PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, who leads the nation’s largest law enforcement union, with over 40,000 NYPD officers, said: "This legislation will help alleviate the burden of working families confronting the economic challenge of providing the best quality education they can for their children, many of whom will be our future police officers and other first-responders who serve and protect New Yorkers. We stand with Cardinal Dolan, Bishop DiMarzio and other religious, community and labor leaders to urge Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to help working families and communities of need by including this Tax Credit in the new state budget."
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said: The Education Investment Tax Credit is the top priority of the New York State Bishops this year, for a simple reason: If a child cannot access a quality education, whether in a public, religious or charter school, than he or she will not succeed in life. The evidence of this is clear. Good schools lift children out of poverty, and give them a chance. It is time to stop playing politics with the families of our state, and time to pass this necessary bill. I am very grateful for the courage of so many of our union leaders for standing up for their members who have children in non-public schools.
Tom Mungeer, President, NYS Troopers PBA, which represents 6,000 active and retired State Troopers, said: "Encouraging more charitable donations for more student scholarships, as this legislation does, will enable children from low-income and middle-class families, including the children of first-responders, to attend the school that best meets their needs and prevent further school closures in communities throughout the state. More quality educational opportunities make for better, safer communities. The time is now for the Legislature and Governor to get this done."
The Education Investment Tax Credit will increase funds in two areas critical to our state’s educational future – donations to public schools, school districts and teacher-driven projects; and scholarships to help low- and middle-income students attend religious and other tuition-based schools. The total increase on donations from this bill would grow to $300 million per year, divided evenly between public school needs and scholarships for students to attend parochial or other private schools.
It would accomplish this by creating a new tax credit for those who make a charitable donation for educational purposes. New York State already provides tax credits for many other purposes, including film and TV production, job creation, economic development and domestic beer brewing.
Low-income and middle-class students would benefit directly from up to $150 million in annual charitable contributions to nonprofit scholarship organizations providing tuition assistance. The new donations for scholarships would make private and parochial education a reality for families seeking new quality educational opportunities and assist those already enrolled who are struggling to afford tuition at schools that best meet their needs.
Additionally, donations to public schools and public school districts would be increased by the same amount – thus making it easier for public schools to enhance their programs without additional reliance on property tax payers or state aid. The bill would also give public school teachers a first-ever New York State income tax credit when they spend their own money on classroom supplies, up to $100.
No government funds would flow to private or parochial schools.
The bill is being advanced in the wake of education budget cuts and as family economic pressures have led to closures of Catholic and other parochial schools around the state. In 2012, the Senate passed the bill 55-4 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. The Assembly version is co-sponsored by two-thirds of the members and a majority of Democrats and Republicans, including leaders of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.
Also, last Friday, the Brooklyn Chapter of the NAACP held a forum on the benefits of the bill, featuring presentations from community groups in Pennsylvania who told of how that state’s tax credit program benefited their work.
The bill is supported by more than 55 civic, community, labor, educational, faith and other organizations, including:
32BJ/SEIU – Agudath Israel of America — Aprendes Foundation — Association of Christian Schools International — Association of Historic Black Independent Schools — BISON Fund — Black Girl Project — Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo — Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon — Brooklyn Movement Center — Brooklyn Music School — Buffalo ReformED — Business Council of Westchester — Calvary Baptist Church of White Plains — Capital District YMCA — CAUSE–NYS — Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia — Children’s Scholarship Fund — DonorsChoose.org — Federation of Catholic Teachers, OPEIU Local 153 AFL-CIO — Foundation for Opportunity in Education — Friendship for Tots — Futures in Education — Groundswell — Inner-City Scholarship Fund — Inner City Foundation of New York — International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 30, AFL-CIO — Jewish Education Project — Lutheran Schools Association — Manhattan Chamber of Commerce — N.A.A.C.P. Brooklyn Branch — Nazarene Congregational UCC Church — New York City Detectives Endowment Association — New York City Outward Bound Schools — New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — New York State Association of P.B.A.s — New York State Catholic Conference — New York State Coalition for Opportunity in Education — New York State Court Officers Association — New York State Supreme Court Officers Association, ILA, AFL-CIO — New York State Troopers PBA — New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools — Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations — Partnership for Inner-City Education — Police Conference of New York — Say Yes to Education – Sergeants Benevolent Association, NYPD — Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation — UJA-Federation of New York — Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY, Local 2507, DC 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO — Uniformed Fire Officers Association, IFAA Local 854, AFLCIO — Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, Local 94 IFAA AFL-CIO — United Black Clergy of Westchester — Wee Create BK — White Plains Housing Authority — YMCA of Greater Rochester.