By Brooklyn Reader

March 24, 2015, 8:58 pm

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Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Assemblyman Dov Hikind

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, today, called on Albany’s leadership – including Assembly Speaker Cal Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo – to get behind the inclusion of Education Investment Tax Credits (EITC) in this year’s budget.

Specifically, Hikind is calling for Heastie to bring EITC to a vote in the Assembly, and on Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep his word and deliver the tax credits once and for all.

The EITC would give tax breaks to those entities that contribute to Yeshivas and other private schools, which in turn would help defray costs to parents of students attending these schools.

“In the Assembly, we have close to 80 sponsors for the Education Investment Tax Credits bill,” said Hikind. “I’ve been making the rounds and I have heard many more colleagues say they will support the bill if it’s brought to a vote. So I am asking the Assembly’s Speaker to allow this process to move forward.”

Hikind was also adamant regarding the necessity for the Governor to lead on EITC.

“The Governor told me publicly and promised our community that he understood how vital Education Investment Tax Credits are to our community and to the millions of New Yorkers who would benefit from them,” said Hikind. “Governor Cuomo came to our community and stood in front of us—stood in front of me personally—and called Education Investment Tax Credits ‘justice.’ He sat with me personally last week and indicated that he understood how essential this legislation is to parents of children in private and parochial schools. He made it clear that he understood how a significant section of New York’s population is unfairly excluded from our State’s education equation; how New York State owes these parents some relief.

“Removing EITC from the budget before the April 1st deadline is equivalent  to saying that it’s not that important. That’s disingenuous, unfair, and unacceptable. There was no talk about connecting Education Investment Tax Credits to the DREAM Act or to anything else. He’s the Governor. If he commits and shows leadership, this will get done.”

While Hikind supported the Dream Act in the assembly, he reiterated that the EITC should not be tied to any other state initiatives.

Hikind’s comments come as Agudath Israel of America is sending a delegation tomorrow to meet with elected officials and lobby for inclusion of the EITC as part of this year’s budget. The group will be led by Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, VP for Community Services, and Board Member Chaskel Bennett.

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