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Op-ed: Pass the education tax credit now

BY BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO

The Education Tax Credit bill is an idea whose time has come. For years, I have been a supporter along with Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the rest of the diocesan bishops across New York. The bill also counts as supporters Governor Andrew Cuomo and a majority of legislators in the state Senate and state Assembly.

So why isn’t it yet the law? Our dysfunctional state Assembly is set up in such a way that throttles democracy. The simple fact is that the education tax credit has overwhelming bipartisan support.

Time is running out. We have to act now to convince the state Assembly to pass this bill, which will substantially increase the funds that will be raised for scholarships in the Diocese of Brooklyn and every other diocese across the state.

Introduced by Senator Marty Golden, the bill has passed the state Senate in each of the past three years. Governor Cuomo, who was also a supporter in previous years, is now a vocal advocate for the bill’s passage. He has appeared in commercial advertisements, attended rallies all over New York and even spoken from the pulpit alongside Monsignor John Delendick and Monsignor Kieran Harrington at the Shrine Church of St. Jude in Brooklyn on Sunday Mass on May 17.

Recently, the governor renamed the bill to the Parental Choice in Education Act. By any name, it’s critically important that it become law this year.

Let there be no doubt: the state Assembly simply must pass the tax credit now, so hardworking families in Brooklyn and Queens and across our state can have real educational choices.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Democrats — including Catherine Nolan of Queens, herself a graduate of Catholic schools, and Peter Abbate of Brooklyn — are keeping parents from having real school choices.

Why? Because of special interest teachers’ union leaders who don’t want parents to have a choice of which school their child attends.

Contrary to what the teachers unions and some news outlets are reporting, the Education Tax Credit benefits families making up to $60,000 a year. The average recipient of the Futures in Education Scholarship comes from families with median income of $28,000 a year.
Some lawmakers are trying to have it both ways — they say they are with us but refuse to lift a finger.

The time for action is now. And we need your help.
Please take a few minutes to demand that your legislators enact the education tax credit before they conclude their work in mid-June. Please click Education Tax Credit Now or go to www.nyscatholic.org to send an email to your lawmakers. You will also be prompted to call their office, which we urge you to do.

Tell them to stand up for all children and make the education tax credit the law. Thank you.

Bishop DiMarzio leads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

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