According to state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox (in a letter to this and other news media), “Andrew Cuomo let down New York’s school children by abandoning the education tax credit, even after he promised to pass it this session.”
The politics, though, are a little complicated. The fiercest opponents do tend to be Democrats, and the New York State United Teachers union. That’s more or less who gets the blame from the New York Post.
But when Cox cites his “experience as a founder and former chair of both SUNY’s Charter School Committee and the Student Sponsor Partners organization, which supports and mentors inner-city high-school students in parochial schools,” it gives me pause. Charter schools, which were authorized in New York by Republican Gov. George Pataki, who got legislators to go along by giving them a pay raise, have tended to hurt parochial schools — unlike vouchers, which would help them, and which have been adopted in some states but not this one. Charters provide a free alternative to regular public schools, luring away some parents who might otherwise pay for private education, which is one reason why many Catholic schools have closed across the state. Further, Republican as well as Democratic legislators rejected a bid earlier this year to link the tax credit to an immigration bill, which would have been a reasonable and creative compromise.
As usual when considering Albany’s usual dysfunction, there is plenty of blame to go around. The Catholic Conference and other backers of this credit are beginning to seem like Charlie Brown in Peanuts running up to kick a football that Lucy keeps snatching away — although a special ed bill they supported which just affects New York City did make it through.
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