In just two weeks, one of the most crucial bills at the NY state level that can benefit our community will either be approved by our state legislators, or tossed to the side, as has been the case till now. The ‘Parental Choice in Education Act’, also known as the Education Tax Credit, was proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and is supported by many leaders in both the State Senate and Assembly.
If passed, the Education Tax Credit bill will provide a tax credit for individual and corporate donations made to public schools as well as not-for profit scholarship granting organizations. Even more important, the bill will provide $500 tax credits directly to low-income families (who earn below $60,000) who send their children to non-public school.
It is a rare occasion when both political parties in NY support a bill that would help our Yeshivas significantly. And they are doing so while facing tremendous pressure from the powerful teachers union (UFT).
The Orthodox Union and the UJA-Federation of New York are in the middle of a joint campaign to push this bill through on behalf of Yeshiva students. They’ve teamed up with representatives from several non-Jewish private schools to make this bill finally become a reality. They’ve created a special web site that parents can use to send letters directly to our elected officials. It takes less than 60 seconds to fill out the form and send the letters.
Jake Adler, the NY Director of Policy for the OU, stated, “The web site was set up so that anyone can take action on behalf of Yeshivas easily and quickly. This is the easiest step you can take to support Jewish education.”
In response to our question about Crown Heights residents filling out the petition even though most of their elected officials will never support it, Adler replied, “Every voice in support of this bill makes a difference, regardless of where you live or who your representatives are. Our legislators need to know that their constituents want them to pass this bill.”
Please immediately go to www.OUadvocacy.org/eitc and fill out the short form.
If we all send letters to our legislators, we will demonstrate that our community is a powerful force, and our elected officials will start listening to us – and not just during election season.