NYSUT leaders quickly pounced on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "new" education tax credit scheme, which would divert $150 million that could be used to fund public education to huge tax breaks for the wealthy who donate to private or religious schools.
In a soon-to-be published interview with the New York Times, NYSUT President Karen Magee said the newly named Parental Choice in Education Act is "as close to a voucher as you can get" and accused the governor of "rewarding the hedge fund billionaires who contribute to his campaign." She said providing state tax breaks to those who choose private or religious schools over public schools is the wrong approach, especially since New Yorkers already receive tax deductions for contributing to charities like the United Way and American Cancer Society. "What's next?" she asked. "Special tax breaks for those who choose to golf at country clubs instead of playing their municipal course?"
She said NYSUT is "unequivocally opposed" to the bill, which she said "was dressed up" with marketing ploys she said were akin to "putting lipstick on a pig."
In interviews with the New York Daily News and in statements to the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, among others, Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the governor's priorities are out of whack, rewarding hedge fund managers with a 75 percent tax credit at a time when school districts are still owed up to $5 billion from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case. Pallotta said, "Even with a substantial school aid increase this year, nearly one-third of the state's school districts will have less state aid in 2015-16 than they had six years ago. Investing adequately and equitably in public education – and not providing more tax giveaways to the wealthy who prefer private education – should be the state's top priority."
Additional clips can be found here:
Meanwhile, NYSUT and its largest local affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers, also weighed in here: