Looking to Governor Cuomo to Lead the Charge

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo listens to a truck driver stranded on the New York State Thruway in West Seneca, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 19.  (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo listens to a truck driver stranded on the New York State Thruway in West Seneca, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 19. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

This coming legislative session, members of the Jewish community — along with other New York parents who elect to send their children to private and parochial schools — are looking to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to lead the charge and bring parents long awaited and desperately needed tuition relief.

While the governor has supported a bill for Education Investment Tax Credits in the past, his powerful words spoken to our community earlier this month set a historical precedence. Our governor acknowledged the hardships that our families face as we work to give our children the best and most meaningful education that we can provide. Governor Cuomo made it clear that he understands just how vital this bill is to the Jewish community and that we deserve this measure of relief.

Justice. Our governor called Education Investment Tax Credits justice.

We agree. Parents in our community have waited too long for relief from the rising cost of yeshivah education while also paying for public schools with our tax dollars. There has never been an issue of constitutionality regarding Education Investment Tax Credits. The passage of this bill will help public schools, too. All children, regardless of where they attend school, will benefit.

Furthermore, the timing has never been better. The New York State Senate is fully behind the bill, which would provide $150 million in scholarships to help parents afford tuition in non-public schools. The State Assembly amassed more than 100 supporters last year for this legislation.

Justice… We agree.

And to put a fine point on that measure of justice, we are hoping that our governor will put Education Investment Tax Credits into his Executive Budget and lead the charge.

Furthermore, there is also a historic opportunity to pay down the CAP debt. Approximately $350 million is now owed by New York State to non-public schools, of which our yeshivos are a part. With a $5 billion surplus in the New York State budget, the CAP debt can easily be addressed and it would be fair and appropriate to allocate these funds when the Executive Budget is prepared.

We have been very patient as we have fought for relief year after year. We are delighted that we have a governor who understands our needs. That’s why our community so overwhelmingly supported Governor Cuomo at the polls three weeks ago.

Now we are ready for justice.