Statement from Invest In Ed Coalition Spokesman Bob Bellafiore

March 2, 2016

“Today we heard from a several of Albany’s usual suspects who once again trotted out their opposition to the proposed Scholarship Tax Credit.”

“Let’s be clear about what these groups want — for school choice to be the exclusive purview of families who can afford expensive and exclusive private schools or homes in Scarsdale or other pricey, high-tax suburbs.”

“This bill will help tens of thousands of children, mostly lower and middle income, receive scholarships. The program will be controlled and highly regulated by the Board of Regents and the state Tax Department. And it’s much cheaper and socially responsible than the long-term costs of trapping poorer children in schools that don’t work for them.”

“When these groups call for repealing the Jimmy Fallon tax credit, the Stephen Colbert tax credit, the TV and film tax credit, the yacht tax credit, the beer brewing tax credit and all the others, then maybe they will have some credibility in opposing the one state tax credit that will actually help low and middle income kids instead of movie moguls and TV networks.

“These folks also try to say the state can’t send funds to religious schools. First, this bill doesn’t send one nickel a religious school. Second, New York State already sends hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to religiously affiliated schools, via a very long-standing program that pays for services mandated by the state. In the 2015-16 state budget, the Legislature and Cuomo in fact included $250 million for overdue mandated services aid.”

“If these so-called advocates were half as obsessed with lower- and middle-income kids who want school choice as they are with philanthropists, then everyone would be better off. It’s time they dropped this dysfunctional obsession and started thinking about the tens of thousands of children from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Queens, Freeport, and elsewhere who would benefit from this bill.”

The scholarship program is supported by a diverse coalition of educators, education support organizations, community groups, immigration rights advocates, faith leaders, non-profits and labor unions.