The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, today welcomed the New York Legislature’s enactment of a child tax credit for school-aged children in the New York State budget.
OU President Stephen J. Savitsky stated: “Our elected officials responded in a real way to the needs of middle class and lower income parents to give them much-needed and well-deserved tax relief. Citizens spoke out themselves and through our organization, and we will continue to speak out on this and other education initiatives.”
Governor George Pataki proposed a tax credit specifically linked to educational expenses which was supported by the OU, along with allies in the Catholic, Lutheran, Sephardic and secular school choice communities. Prominent support came from the state’s Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, as well as every gubernatorial candidate.
The Legislature, led by Senator Joseph Bruno and Speaker Sheldon Silver, mindful of many concerns including the need to offer parents real financial relief, modified Governor Pataki’s Education Tax Credit to a child tax credit of $330 per child for families with school-aged children and a taxable income below $110,000.
Nathan J. Diament, OU Director of Public Policy stated: “The enactment of a tax credit helping parents of school aged children (ages 4-17) is a positive first step that responded to unprecedented grass roots activism from the Orthodox Jewish community and others. Tax credits, despite what others may say, are not vouchers and they are fully constitutional. In states with such programs, both public and nonpublic schools and students benefit from these valuable credits. That makes them smart policy and now, because of our efforts, New York State parents will see some measure of relief. We will continue to work to advance such programs benefiting educational choice at the federal and state levels, while also working to help even more parents benefit from the child tax credit as enacted.”
Elliot Gibber, OU Senior Vice President (and president of TEACH NYS, a nonpartisan, nondenominational group that advocated for the Education Tax Credit) stated: “We are proud of the role the Orthodox Union, the Sephardic Community Federation, Yeshiva University and others played in mobilizing thousands of New Yorkers on this issue to call, email, and even come to Albany for a massive rally in support of education tax credits. Enactment of the credit is a good foundation we look forward to building on in the coming years.”
[Note to Editors: See op-ed in the New York Daily News advocating specific education linkage co-authored by OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens and Rev. A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center.]