Lew's View: education investment tax credit

Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.


In this commentary, Mr. Leone discusses the archbishop's disappointment that the state budget has dropped the education investment tax credit.


Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, visited Good Day New York this holy week to discuss a variety of topics. One issue which has him very angry is the education investment tax credit which was dumped out of the recently issued New York State budget.

You see, Dolan had personally lobbied for the credits, which incentivize private and corporate donations to both private and public schools. Cardinal Dolan believes that these credits can help keep private schools open.

The effort has widespread support in the state Legislature, and in fact Dolan thought he had a handshake agreement for a deal. There are no real opponents to the bill, well except for one. Dolan believes the UFT, the teachers' union, opposed it.

There is no downside to these tax credits which benefit education, don't raise taxes, help both public and private schools and exist in 19 other states.

So why does the teacher's union oppose this? Well, they claim that the credits are for rich people, are really just vouchers and they will hurt public schools.

That is simply not true.

What I believe is that teachers' union opposition is simply a matter of influence. You see, in New York the public school teachers' unions give more money to politicians than any other group. Since they lost the charter school battle and on tying teacher evaluations to Common Core test results the politicians had to give them a minor victory so they left these tax credits out.

The union plans to hold passage of education tax credits hostage in exchange for something they really care about, namely teacher evaluations.

Governor Cuomo and the Legislature must not let that happen. They should listen to Cardinal Dolan not renege on their promises and give the green light to education tax credits.


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