A 50-person joint delegation of individuals with special needs and mainstream high school students will push for the passage of the Education Investment Incentives Act-also known as the Education Tax Credit-at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 10. The advocacy mission was organized by OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, the nonpartisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, together with Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities.
The delegation will have lunch with legislators at 12:15 p.m. in Convention Center Meeting Room 1 and will be recognized on the Floor of the Assembly at 2:30 p.m.
The high school students are members of Yachad’s Youth Leadership Council, 11th and 12th graders who help shape Yachad programs and advocate for inclusion of individuals with special needs.
In addition to a lunch with state legislators, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS and Yachad have scheduled a dozen individual meetings, during which members of the delegation will urge their legislators to include the tax credit in the enacted State Budget.
“This mission is the perfect illustration that everyone can be an advocate and make a difference by coming to Albany and speaking with legislators,” said Arielle Frankston-Morris, Director of Field Operations for OU Advocacy-Teach NYS. “Yachad’s Day Habilitation participants and Youth Leadership Council students will demonstrate to our state legislators that the Education Tax Credit bill has an important impact on the special needs community.”
“The Education Tax Credit bill is especially important to tuition-paying families who incur additional costs to support their children with special needs, since it has the potential to provide these families with much-needed financial relief. We are so pleased that our Day Habilitation participants and Youth Leadership Council students are able to take advantage of this important opportunity to help pass the Education Tax Credit for all of New York’s Jewish day school and non-public students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad.
“The Education Tax Credit bill has gained tremendous momentum over the past several years. With Governor Cuomo committing his support for the bill, the Senate passing the bill, and a significant amount of support for the bill in the Assembly, we are confident that 2015 will be the year of the Education Tax Credit, to benefit all of New York’s children,” said Jake Adler, New York Policy Director for OU Advocacy-Teach NYS.
This mission is the second of four advocacy missions organized by OU Advocacy-Teach NYS in support of the Education Tax Credit. The first mission brought a joint delegation of 30 high school students to Albany from Yeshivah of Flatbush and Nazareth Regional High School. The remaining two missions will bring parents, students and Jewish day school leaders from across the state to Albany.
The top priority during the 2015 Legislative Session for OU Advocacy-Teach NYS is passing the Education Tax Credit. By encouraging individuals and corporations to make charitable contributions to public schools or scholarship-making organizations for tuition-paying families, the Education Tax Credit could generate an unprecedented amount of support to tuition-paying families and ensure that the program benefits the broadest swath of New York’s schoolchildren. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included the credit in his Executive Budget. The bill in the state Senate is sponsored by Senators Martin J. Golden (R-Brooklyn) and Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn); in the state Assembly, the bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island).