A Promise to Keep - Albany owes a big one to non-public schoolsby New York Daily News
Timothy Cardinal Dolan and his fellow bishops are keeping up the good fight for a tax credit to boost scholarships for kids in Catholic schools and similar institutions.
For the sake of hundreds of thousands of New York families who deserve a break, Albany must heed the bishops' call.
The concept is to create a special tax break for donations to education - $150 million for public schools and $150 million for contributions to private-school scholarship funds.
This would throw a much-needed lifeline to parochial schools, yeshivas and other private academies serving lower-income kids, while also providing extra cash to boost public-school offerings.
The credit should have been included in the state budget, which is what Gov. Cuomo all but promised to the bishops but then failed to deliver.
Dolan pointedly reminds Cuomo of that dropped ball in a new ad campaign: "Please don't forget us, governor," Dolan says in a TV spot currently airing in the Buffalo area, with kids in Catholic school uniforms by his side. "Pass that education tax credit, so every child can have a great school. We're all counting on you."
The Senate's co-leaders, Republican Dean Skelos and Independent Democrat Jeff Klein, are fully on board.
But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is blocking action in his house in deference to the teachers unions, which predictably oppose any and all government support for private education. No fewer than 89 members of the 150-seat Assembly, most of them Silver's fellow Democrats, are cosponsoring the bill from Staten Island's Michael Cusick, leaving no doubt that it would pass if put on the floor.
If Cuomo is true to his word to the bishops, he must insist that Silver stop stonewalling, call a vote,and do right by private-school families.