Borough Park

Felder blasts Assembly over educational tax credit failure

March 13, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Simcha Felder expressed deep disappointment with the outcome of the educational tax credit fight. Photo courtesy Felder’s office

The Educational Investment Tax Credit, a bill designed to help public and private school parents defray the cost of educating their children by allowing people to earn tax credits for contributions to scholarship funds, is not likely to happen this year after the New York State Assembly did not include the legislation in its one-house budget released on March 10.

The State Senate had approved a bill to create the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC) back in January at the urging of senators Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) and Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn).

Felder charged that Assembly leaders had expressed support for the bill earlier this year and then turned their backs on the proposed legislation when it came time to issue their budget.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Assembly has failed once again to give our parents and our schools the help they need. Members of the Assembly have talked and talked about the importance of including the EITC in the budget, but their actions today show that they are not truly ready to put the needs of tuition paying parents before their own political agenda,” Felder said in a statement on Tuesday.

Felder called the EITC “a groundbreaking bill.”

Under the bill, $150 million in state funds would be allocated for education scholarships, half of which would go to tuition paying parents, while the other half would be allocated toward paying for resources and programs in public schools. The bill would also give New Yorkers the opportunity to take the amount of tax they owe to New York State and instead contribute those dollars to foundations that would be set up to award scholarships to students.

Felder said he’s not giving up the fight to have the EITC bill included in the budget package.

He has organized a petition drive and is urging parents to sign it to put pressure on the Assembly and on Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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At a briefing hosted by Felder on Feb. 23, representatives of several non-public schools said it was urgent to include the EITC in this year’s budget and pleaded that leaders in Albany not wait another year to act.

“I have been working to get a bill like this passed for 30 years,” said James Cultrara, co-chairman of the New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools. “Please, make sure it doesn’t take 31 years to get this done.”

For information on the petition drive, email to [email protected] or call Felder’s Brooklyn office at 718-253-2015.

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