Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) addressed an Isru Chag Emergency Tax Credit Meeting this afternoon to advise members of Agudas Israel of America and its affiliates regarding steps that need to be taken in hopes of achieving education tax credits this legislative session. Hikind was joined by his colleagues Assembly Members Phillip Goldfeder and Michael Simanowitz, along with heads of Agudath Israel and numerous New York yeshivas.
The meeting was called to build support for NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed new law, the “Parental Choice in Education Act,” which would represent a breakthrough for the yeshiva community. If passed, the law would provide a $500 per-child tax credit to parents who pay tuition for their children in yeshivas and other nonpublic schools. In addition, it would set aside $50 million in tax credits for contributions to scholarship funds for needy nonpublic school students.
“We have this week and three more weeks,” explained Hikind. “This is when things get done. Here’s what I think needs to be done: You have to set up a war room… and not just Agudath. If you do it by yourself, we’re not going to succeed. You must work with all the others involved in this issue, and let everyone take a certain responsibility in terms of centering in on 20 [Assembly Members]. There are [Members] who are not going to support this bill regardless. If G-d comes down and tells them to support it, it won’t matter. We know who they are. Forget about them. Agudah has to take a list of people and not go to the same people again. Meet with those people, explain it to those people. The arguments that have been made [opposing this] are ludicrous and dishonest. The radio ad that’s running from the teacher’s union that I responded to very strongly said this is for the rich. That’s shecker. It’s the Big Lie.”
Hikind, an early proponent of these tax credits, has remained a stalwart, vocal supporter of the need for these measures in New York State. The Assemblyman recently introduced Governor Cuomo to a huge crowd at Yeshiva Shaare Torah in Flatbush when the Governor came to address the community regarding his new law.
A video of the meeting can be seen here.