Diocese of Rockville Centre

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK – May 21, 2014 – The Most Rev. William Murphy, bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, will join parents, students and teachers at a demonstration this Thursday, May 22, 2014 to express disappointment at Governor Andrew Cuomo for failing to secure the Education Investment Tax Credit proposal in this year’s state budget.

The demonstration will also urge state lawmakers to enact the measure before they conclude the 2014 Legislative Session. Bishop Murphy plans to join the demonstration outside the Hilton Long Island Huntington hotel beginning at 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 22.

“With the vast majority of our state legislators from all parts of the state supporting the Education Tax Credit, it is difficult to understand why Governor Cuomo failed to secure its inclusion in the state budget, especially knowing that he too supports the proposal,“ said Bishop Murphy. “We will be at the site of the Convention tomorrow to remind Governor Cuomo that all children need his help in receiving a quality education.”

“It’s no secret that this is an election year and the state budget seemed to include something for everyone else but children and families who want to attend parochial schools but cannot afford it,” said Sister Joanne Callahan, OSU, Superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre. “These families have every right to be angry at Governor Cuomo for his failure of leadership on this issue.”

The Education Investment Tax Credit will increase funds in two areas critical to our state’s educational future – donations to public schools, school districts and teacher-driven projects; and scholarships to help low- and middle-income students attend religious and other tuition-based schools. The total increase on donations from this bill would grow to $300 million per year, divided evenly between public school needs and scholarships for students to attend parochial or other private schools.

It would accomplish this by creating a new tax credit for those who make a charitable donation for educational purposes. New York State already provides tax credits for many other purposes, including film and TV production, job creation, economic development and domestic beer brewing.

Low-income and middle-class students would benefit directly from up to $150 million in annual charitable contributions to nonprofit scholarship organizations providing tuition assistance. The new donations for scholarships would make private and parochial education a reality for families seeking new quality educational opportunities and assist those already enrolled who are struggling to afford tuition at schools that best meet their needs.

Additionally, donations to public schools and public school districts would be increased by the same amount – thus making it easier for public schools to enhance their programs without additional reliance on property tax payers or state aid. The bill would also give public school teachers a first-ever New York State income tax credit when they spend their own money on classroom supplies, up to $200. No government funds would flow to private or parochial schools. The legislation had twice passed the State Senate, most recently by a strong bipartisan vote of 55-4, and is supported by nearly two thirds of the members of the Assembly.