Skelos to Cuomo: Put Tuition Aid in Budget

ALBANY -

New York Senate’s top Republican on Monday urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include a far reaching education tax credit in his budget blueprint, which is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre said putting the Education Investment Tax Credit in the Democratic governor’s executive budget would “send a strong signal that in New York every student deserves access to a first-class education and the limitless opportunities that come with it.”

The bill, which was sponsored last year by Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) in the Senate and by Michael Cusick (R-Staten Island) in the Assembly, passed the Senate but stalled in the Assembly. It would allow a charitable donation made for any education purpose — whether public or private school, including yeshivos — to be a dollar for dollar tax deduction.

Yeshivah and Catholic school advocates have actively promoted the legislation as the best the state can do to help parents of nonpublic school children, who also pay property taxes to fund the general school system. But despite promises by Cuomo, the bill did not pass.

However, at a campaign stop in Boro Park last year, Cuomo called the tax credit “a matter of justice.” He repeated the phrase days later in an interview with Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Since Skelos became majority leader in 2010, several yeshivah-friendly bills have been signed into law, including free transportation for late-homecoming students and TAP.

“Rather than being forced to simply lower their expectations,” Skelos said in his statement, “parents whose children are trapped in failing schools should have real options when it comes to furthering their child’s education and securing their future.”