Choose the Education Tax Credit: A Gift for Our Children’s Future

Save the Arts & After-School Programs: Pass the Education Tax Credit

 

Gov. Cuomo & Cardinal Dolan Campaign for Education Tax Credit

New t.v. ads launched to urge Assembly action

With the legislative sessions scheduled to end in five weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo barnstormed the state yesterday on behalf of the Education Tax Credit, part of a new broader “parental choice” agenda he unveiled for the first time.

Governor Cuomo and Timothy Cardinal Dolan made joint appearances yesterday on Long Island and in the Buffalo area.

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Gov. Cuomo and Cardinal Dolan at the Education Tax Credit rally in Long Island (top) and Buffalo (below).

CuomoDolanBuffalo

The Governor has made clear that his top priorities include the Education Tax Credit and a lift in the cap on the number of charter schools.

Despite intense opposition from the teachers unions, the Governor expanded his parental choice agenda – rather than backing down. In addition to a tax credit to encourage donations for scholarships for children attending private schools, the Governor also proposed a direct parental tax credit of $500 per student, and a tax credit to reimburse teachers for money they spent on classroom supplies.

The direct parental tax credit would cover private-school expenses borne by parents making $60,000 or less. The separate tax credit for donations to scholarship organizations would extend eligibility to middle-class families with incomes up to $300,000.

The new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has indicated that the Senate will join Governor Cuomo in embracing both parental-choice measures.

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NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan

The Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie presently is the remaining roadblock. Heastie has refused to allow a vote or a deal on the Education Tax Credit, despite the fact that the bill has the support of much more than 76 members, the number of votes needed to pass the measure in the 150-member chamber.

A new advertising campaign was launched Tuesday to pressure the State Assembly to take action. This campaign is supported by the Invest In Education Coalition, Families for Excellent Schools, and Students First New York.

This puts pressure for the remainder of the session squarely on the shoulders of Speaker Carl Heastie and the Assembly Democratic Majority to agree to a deal on the education tax credit among the remaining issues under negotiation this legislative session.

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

With the Assembly Democrats seeking action on rent regulations, mayoral control of NYC public schools, a minimum wage hike, and the Dream Act, substantial leverage exists for an omnibus deal.

 

 

Still Fighting for the Education Tax Credit

Despite a very aggressive effort from a diverse coalition of nearly 150 non-profit organizations and labor unions, the final 2015-16 NYS Budget recently adopted did not include the Education Tax CreditGov. Andrew Cuomo has committed to push the issue in the regular session that runs through June 2015.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo included the tax credit in his Executive Budget and fought more aggressively than last year to reach an agreement to get the plan passed.  An overwhelming bi-partisan majority in the NYS Senate passed the bill (44-16) in January.

A majority of members of the NYS Assembly support the bill, including a majority of the Democrats, yet new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie refused to allow the bill to be voted upon.  Speaker Heastie’s opposition was surprising given that he had been a co-sponsor of the bill for the three years prior to becoming Speaker in early February 2015.

While the Democratic Assembly leadership blocked a vote on the Education Tax Credit to benefit New York students from low-income and working families, they did overwhelmingly pass new tax breaks for purchasing pricey yachts and private jets.

Given the widespread support for the Education Tax Credit, a good deal of time left in the current legislative session, and an unusually large number of important issues unresolved, the fight continues to see the Education Tax Credit passed this year.

 

 

New Ads, in Spanish and English, Urge Yes Vote for Education Investment Measure

ALBANY, NY – Advocates supporting a new measure to increase investment in public schools and private school scholarships today launched an ad campaign highlighting the measure’s broad, diverse support and urging its passage as part of the state budget.

Appearing in and voicing the ad is Yohan Garcia (bio), executive director of the Queens Chapter 23047 of the League of United Latin American Citizens. The League was founded in 1929 and is the nation’s oldest and most widely respected Hispanic civil rights organization.

See the ads:


SCRIPT

Imagine a New York where school children have what they need – not just math and science but art and music.

A New York where working families have choices for their kids.

An effort that unites New Yorkers of all races, religions and ethnic groups.

Blacks, whites, Latinos, community activists, business and labor – from Buffalo to Queens.

That’s the Education Investment Tax Credit – the most widely supported idea in a generation.

Tell Governor Cuomo and your state lawmakers to pass it now.

BACKGROUND

The League is one of nearly 140 groups that have endorsed the Education Investment Tax Credit.  It includes some 30 labor unions and reflects the state’s broad and rich racial, ethnic, religious, geographic, economic and political diversity.  Supporters include groups that support private and parochial schools and groups that provide educational support to public schools (eg, Walk of Art Brooklyn does art programs for Brooklyn schools that don’t have them.)

The bill has broad bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate. Over the last two weeks, support rallies have been headlined by Assembly Member Marcos Crespo (Bronx), chairman of the Assembly’s Hispanic Task Force, and Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez (E. Harlem), as well as Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) and Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Senate Co-leader and Independent Democratic Conference Leader, and Senator Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk).

The Senate passed the education tax credit bill in January by a 44-16 vote. Yes votes included Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) and Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) and numerous other Democrats.

THE BILL

The bill increases charitable donations to public schools and scholarships for low-income and working family students hoping to attend parochial and private schools. It would do this simply by expanding existing state tax incentives for the same purposes.

The total increase on donations from this bill would divided evenly between public school needs and scholarships for students to attend parochial or other private schools.

New York State already provides generous tax deductions and some $4.7 billion in tax credits for many other purposes, including film and TV production, job creation, economic development and domestic beer brewing. Also, legislation pending in the Assembly would give recording studios a tax credit worth some $25 million.

No government funds would flow to private or parochial schools.

The ads are from the Invest In Education Coalition, an umbrella group of the measure’s supporters.

 

 

Lawmakers, Educators, Community Leaders Rally on Long Island to Support Education Investment Plan

LONG ISLAND, NY – State lawmakers, educators and community leaders will hold a rally on SATURDAY, MARCH 14, to urge Albany to pass a measure to increase investment in public schools and scholarships for low-income and working families.

The rally will take place at 11 am at:
MDQ Academy (Bldg #2 on St Joseph’s Academy Campus)
1725 Brentwood Rd, Brentwood, NY 11717

Program and Speakers:

  • Opening Pledge and March – US Naval Sea Cadets
  • Rev. Dr. Keith Hayward, Pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Copaigue
  • Sister Helen Kearney, Ph.D, CSJ President of the the Sisters of St. Joseph
  • Bishop William Murphy, Diocese of Rockville Centre
  • Shepherd’s Gate School – Singing
  • State Senator Phil Boyle
  • State Senator Michael Venditti
  • Dr. Hafiz Rehman, Board Chair, MDQ Academy
  • MDQ Poetry Slam
  • Liz Boylan, parent
  • Sister Joanne Callahan, Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Rockville Centre/Call to Action

BACKGROUND

The proposed Education Investment Tax Credit has won the support of 140 groups that represent New York State’s rich ethnic, racial, cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic diversity. It also has very strong bipartisan support in Albany.

The broad coalition includes 29 labor unions and more than 110 non-profits involved in public and private education, immigration services, civil rights and more. It may well be the most diverse coalition ever assembled to support New York legislation. A full list of supporters is found here.

The bill pending in Albany increases charitable donations to public schools and scholarships for low-income and working family students hoping to attend parochial and private schools. It would do this by expanding an existing tax incentive for the same purposes.

The total increase on donations from this bill would be divided evenly between public school needs and scholarships for students to attend parochial or other private schools.

New York State already provides generous tax deductions and some $4.7 billion in tax credits for many other purposes, including film and TV production, job creation, economic development and domestic beer brewing. For example, NBC was given a tax credit for returning The Tonight Show to New York City. The bill also exemplifies bipartisanship that can work. Governor Cuomo has included the proposal in his 2015-16 Executive Budget. And a version of the bill has passed the Senate 44-16, with significant support from Democrats and Republicans. The Assembly version of the bill has a majority of the Assembly members as co-sponsors, including leaders from the Democratic and Republican conferences, as well as the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus.

 

 

Actor Malik Yoba, Community Leaders and Educators Rally in Brooklyn to Support Education Investment

BROOKLYN, NY – Renowned actor and mentor Malik Yoba, star of the Fox TV series “Empire,” and community and civic leaders today called upon Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to make sure the new state budget includes a plan to increase investment in public schools programs and scholarships for low-income and working families.

At a rally held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Yoba and the other leaders said the remarkably diverse support for plan shows how all people can come together to support a smart plan to help children learn.

Some 140 groups from across the state – perhaps the most wide-ranging, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious coalition ever assembled for a bill pending in Albany – support the Education Investment Tax Credit.

The Education Investment Tax Credit increases funding for public schools and scholarships for school children from low-income and working families. The bill has broad bipartisan support in Albany – including urban and suburban lawmaker in both parties in the Assembly and the Senate, as well as from Governor Cuomo.

Actor and mentor Malik Yoba, star of FOX TV’s “Empire,” said: “The Education Tax Credit is a way we can help more children with the education their parents desire for them. That should be the foremost priority of our Governor and State Legislators – not politics, but helping children. Show us your priorities in this final State Budget by including the Education Tax Credit to help all children in our neediest communities by expanding programs in public schools and providing equal access for children in parochial and other schools.”

Mark Winston Griffith, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center, which brings together residents of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights to identify issues of importance to them, build power and improve conditions in their community, said: “The Education Tax Credit will benefit our children, our communities and our future. It is about expanding programs in public schools and providing equal access for children in parochial and other schools. Our State officials need to be responsive to our children and our communities in every way possible – and that should include the Education Tax Credit in the final State Budget.”

Marie Bathelmy, mom of Gabriel, a kindergartner at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy in Bushwick, said: “The Education Investment Tax Credit would make a reason difference for families like mine and so many others. It would literally change lives by giving more children access to scholarships, strengthening neighborhood schools and after-school programs and supporting teachers. Please make sure you pass the Education Investment Tax Credit with the budget so Gabriel and thousands of kids just starting out in school will have better opportunities.”

Shana Jackson, Executive Director, of weecreate BK, a full preK program that grew from an arts and cultural studies curriculum located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, said: “The Education investment Tax Credit is especially helpful to children in Pre-kindergarten students. The Education Tax Credit would help public schools expand Pre-K slots for more children, and create more scholarship opportunities for young children to enroll in community-based Pre-K programs. The Education Investment Tax Credit is truly a ‘win-win’ for children in need of pre-kindergarten education.”

A.B. Whitfield, founder of the Trey Whitfield School in Brooklyn, said: “I call on our Governor, our Senators, and our Assembly members to pass the Education Tax Credit as part of the state budget. We need your help to make this happen now for the sake of our kids – they don’t have any time to waste! Their future begins with you!”

Raki Barlow, Director of Arts and Education for Walk of Art Kids in Brooklyn, which brings arts enrichment education to children in public schools, said: “Community-based, non-profit organizations are a vitally important part of bringing educational quality and enrichment to students in public schools. The Education Tax Credit is a crucial means by which we can bring arts, music and other enrichment programs to our students in public schools throughout the City. Too many students are being denied the arts, music and enrichment education they need and deserve – the Education Tax Credit can help remedy that void.”

The Education Investment Tax Credit exemplifies bipartisanship that can work. Governor Cuomo has included the proposal in his 2015-16 Executive Budget. And a version of the bill has passed the Senate 44-16, with significant support from Democrats and Republicans. The Assembly version of the bill has a majority of the Assembly members as co-sponsors, including leaders from the Democratic and Republican conferences, as well as the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus.

Today’s rally in Brooklyn comes after rallies in East Harlem, the Bronx and Staten Island and in advance of a rally Saturday on Long Island.

Supporters represent the State’s rich ethnic, racial, cultural, religious and geographic diversity – including 29 labor unions as well as 111 non-profits involved in public and private education, immigration services, civil rights and more. A full list of supporters is found here.