Gov. Paterson’s Yeshiva Proposal Appears DOA

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patersonA proposal by Gov. Paterson to expand tuition grants to religious institutions such as yeshivos won’t survive the budget process, Albany insiders say. The proposal, included in the governor’s executive budget, had been pushed by Jewish leaders in the village of Kiryas Joel in Monroe, N.Y. They hosted fundraisers for Paterson and for Senate Democratic leader John Sampson, pouring nearly $100,000 into the governor’s war chest on Jan. 10 and giving at least $32,000 to Mr. Sampson on Dec. 21. The donations were first noted in the Times-Herald Record of Hudson Valley, which reported total contributions of $142,200 to Paterson and $45,000 to Sampson.Less than two weeks after the Paterson fundraiser, the governor included a provision in his 2010-11 executive budget providing $12.8 million to “extend Tuition Assistance Program award eligibility to students in certain religious studies programs.” Another $18.3 million was put in for the following year. At the same time, the governor proposed cutting TAP by $50 million.

A Division of the Budget spokesman says that the proposal was meant to address “an inequality in the current system” and to bring state standards in line with federal ones. Students at religious schools are, for example, eligible for federal Pell grants.

But Albany sources say the TAP extension is a transparent handout to a special interest that lined the governor’s coffers. Since Paterson is no longer running, they say, he’s unlikely to insist upon the proposal.

“With all the forces pushing and pulling him in this budget, I don’t see it surviving-especially when it was put out there as a politically expedient proposal by a governor who’s now a lame duck,” a Senate Democratic insider says.

Without the governor putting his weight behind the proposal, it’s unlikely Sampson will expend political capital on it, either, says an Albany lobbyist who works with the Jewish community.

“Without Paterson, Sampson’s out there alone, having taken money from a community for a policy he will never be able to deliver,” the lobbyist says. Sampson declined to comment.

{Crain’s NY/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Rumor has it that A fun unzere politician currently running for office is the cause of this loss. Not only did he refuse to lobby for this he leaked it and killed it. This is from someone going around and touting his founding of a lobby that helps frum mosdos.


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