More than 10,000 rally in Buffalo in Support of Education Investment Tax Credit

More than 10,000 parents, students, and teachers rallied today in Buffalo, New York in support of the proposed Education Investment Tax Credit bill. The rally was led by a bipartisan collection of Buffalo's state legislature delegation, as well as by Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone and numerous others.

Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly and Cardinal Dolan, leader of New York State's Catholics, provided remarks via videotape. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown welcomed the huge group to downtown Buffalo. The proposed tax credit would encourage individuals and businesses to donate to public schools and non-profit scholarship organizations.

It would also, for the first time, give public school teachers a dollar-for-dollar New York State tax credit when they spend their own money on classroom supplies. The bill is being pushed in the wake of four years of public education budget cuts and as Catholic and other private schools have closed around the state in response to rising family economic pressures.

Click here for more details on the legislation.

The “Invest in Education Rally,” held at the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo, drew participants from throughout Western New York. The event was co-sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Buffalo ReformED, the New York Coalition of Independent and Religious Schools and others.

Legislators who addressed the rally included State Senators George Maziarz and Timothy Kennedy, and Assembly members Cyrstal Peoples-Stokes and Robin Schimminger. To see the full list of speakers, click here.

Cardinal Dolan's remarks can be found here. Jim Kelly's are here. Kelly was the Bills' QB from 1986 through 1996 and now lives with his family in East Aurora.

The Education Investment Tax Credit legislation passed the State Senate last year by a bipartisan vote of 55-4, and is drawing growing support in the State Assembly. The Assembly bill (A.1826) has 92 legislative sponsors in the 150-seat chamber, including a majority of Assembly Democrats and more than 90 percent of Buffalo-area state legislators.

The legislation also has drawn the support of a cross-section of labor unions, including the Police Conference of New York, the NY State Troopers, the NYC Firefighters, the NYS Court Officers, OPEIU (an AFL-CIO affiliate), and the Archdiocesan Federation of Catholic Teachers.