Powered by WebAds

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tax Credit Disappointment

The Private School community was dealt a setback yesterday when Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver ommited the school tax credit proposal from the Assembly version of the 2006-2007 budget. From the NY Sun:
Tensions further escalated as it emerged that the Democratic-controlled Assembly is planning to omit from its budget the controversial tuition tax credit that Mr. Pataki proposed earlier in the year. The Assembly's expected removal of the tuition tax credit, which is heavily favored by school choice advocates, comes amid a ramped up effort on the part of the New York State teachers union to defeat the governor's proposal, which would give a credit of up to $500 to low and middle-income parents of children enrolled in private and public schools.
The NYS Union of Teachers and The United Federation of Teachers have vehemently opposed the tax credit proposal, spending a significant amount of time and capital on an item which is a miniscule part of the $110 billion 2006-2007 NYS budget, and even the $17 billion portion of the budget that goes to education. It seems that the teachers' union will pull out all the stops to exert complete control of the state's educational establishment. Mr. Silver has made his decision to back the teachers' union, who seem to be using quid pro quo tactics to oppose the tax credit at all costs:
The most aggressive challenge against the tax credits appears to be coming from the state teachers union, New York State United Teachers, which lawmakers say has threatened to withhold contributions from those who support the measure.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Silver has given up this chance to help those in his own community. The private school parents that he has neglected here save the state billions of dollars every year by sending their kids to public school, and yet Mr. Silver begrudges them $500. I received an insert in a Jewish newspaper yesterday, that urges NY residents to call Mr. Silver's office to ask for his support on this issue. The phone number is: (212)312-1420.

I always worry when Orthodox politicians win public office, that some will bend over backwards to appear impartial to their community, instead of just doing the right thing as each individual situation warrants. In a case such as this, when numerous local and state politicians clearly see the merits of this proposal - most with no connection to the Orthodox community - it is depressing to see Mr. Silver show his stripes.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a counter-proposal being floated by Assembly Democrats to give $750 to all families earning up to $150,000.

9:31 AM  
Blogger rebba shlita said...

it is a real shame that we are now forced to call mr. silvers office and try to urge him. this is so sad, if we dont look out for each other than why should the outside world do so?
also to my knowledge there were more non-jewish participants at the rally in albany than jewish ones, so it would not look that bad for him to support this issue.
shame on you mr. silver, shame on you.
kudos ortho, for the story.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

OM - I think you're way off the mark regarding Silver. He has never shirked from using his public office to support frum causes. 25 years ago he forced hospitals to accomodate bris milahs, in the 90's his efforts led to passage of the get laws, and most recently he has secured preservation funding for shuls in his neighborhood.

His opposition stems from the fact that he is an old school establishment Democrat, and thus reflexively aligned with (and beholden to) the unions. I'm sure he would support the LTA as well if asked; to him it is not a frum issue.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

In Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun has opposed any sort of state funding for state mandated education expenses (secular studies, books, transportation), claiming that it would take money away from the public schools (even the financially strapped Baltimore City public schools are funded at the national average per student). But what gets me is that not a word is said about state funding for Maryland's College of Notre Dame (for example). Why is that allowed?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

What disturbs me about the proposal is that it is giving tax relief only to the parents - what about property tax payers without children? I pay over $2,000 per year on property taxes (on a house assessed at $137,000) and the only tax relief I get is from the STAR program. I believe in supporting the public schools, but I have to say this seems unfair to me, that only certain people should get a tax credit.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

I agree with the post, but I think that the last line at Silver is unfounded. Has he done anything to show that he used to agree with the school choice people? Why do you say he's 'bending over backwards' to show impartiality? Maybe he simply disagrees with the credit.

2:05 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I believe in supporting the public schools, but I have to say this seems unfair to me, that only certain people should get a tax credit.

Rebecca, I hear your frustration, but there are all sorts of tax credits and loopholes for people in different circumstances. People need to qualify to receive them. This proposal is set aside solely to help parents with their children's education. I don't at all see that at as exclusionary, but more as filling a need.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ezzie, our host OM is too polite to say what everyone who knows anything about NY politics already knows: Shelly does NOT look out to help the Orthodox community. Never has, never did. And to Sam, who said that Shelly helps Orthos by giving money to rebuild shuls, it costs a hell of a lot less to rebuild shuls (in his neighborhood, I must add) than it does to help struggling parents.

2:33 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

This is a real shame. One must wonder if the private school students must enroll in public school in mass and overwhelm the public school system to get any funding? I heard that this is how the Catholic schools in Philly retained their bussing when it was being cut from the budget in the 1970's.

What a shame that this item was not included in the budget.

Rebecca: You do receive a benefit from paying property tax. You get to itemize that property tax, along with your mortgage interest and charitable deductions on your tax form.

The government needs to provide tax breaks to parents and may even find with plummeting birth rates that they need to provide even better benefits. I had no problem with tax benefits for parents when I was single and hope I will not have such issues when I am an empty nester.

Parents need to be able to make good choices for their children. One of the saddest things is just how much parents pay in tax. After WWII the effective tax rate for families was something like 2% at the federal level. Now, it is much, much higher and it has stripped many mothers of the ability to make the choice to stay home. The most sad thing is that homemakers do not receive the tax breaks that working mothers do.

I saw this tax credit for all parents (public and private) as a step in the right direction. I'm sorry to see that it is not included in the budget.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you cant afford private school send them to public school where the education is free!

3:32 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I agree with Ezzie that the dig at Shelly seems completely unfounded. Silver's first obligation is to his district, not to the Orthodox Jews. He is not the larger Jewish community's personal ambassador, but a representative of the people who elected him.

The idea that an Orthodox Jewish politician must always put his community's desires ahead of the needs of the people who elected him is wrong, and dangerous.

(Also, OM's post glosses over the fact that planty of Orthodox Jews oppose the tax credits for pragmatic and principled reasons.)

11:19 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


The idea that an Orthodox Jewish politician must always put his community's desires ahead of the needs of the people who elected him is wrong, and dangerous.


No. I certainly don't say that, though I'm not surprised to see you putting words into my mouth. What I do find dangerous is Shelly's constant bending over backwards to put any interest group at all (such as the teachers' union) ahead of the Orthodox community's. He should not help the Orthodox community any less than any other of his constituents. He rescinded his support for the death penalty because the Black and Latino caucus in the State assembly opposed it. It is incomprehensible to me that he does not accord his contituency that includes members of his own community the same consideration.

(Also, OM's post glosses over the fact that planty of Orthodox Jews oppose the tax credits for pragmatic and principled reasons.)

What you are saying is gibberish. Name a "pragmatic" or "practical" reason that "plenty of Orthodox Jews" oppose the proposal under. Please explain. Please give me concrete reasons that explain why an Orthodox Jew (besides you) would oppose it? Also, what you are glossing over very nicely is the fact that this proposal assists public school parents in far greater numbers than private school parents. For anyone to oppose putting $500 per child in the pockets of parents to make some choices regarding their children's education is incomprehensible to me.

12:15 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

The pragmatic objection (among others) is that the tax credit might damage public schools, and the students who rely on them. Another, is concern that yeshivas will raise tuition if the tax credit is approved.

The principled objection (among others) is that the state shouldn't be supporting parochial education, because this erodes the state/church wall in a way that might ultimately hurt us.

These are just two of the reasons why Silver -an Orthodox Jews - might oppose the tax credit - and not because he's "bend[ing] over backwards to appear impartial."


No. I certainly don't say that, though I'm not surprised to see you putting words into my mouth.


Please. I wasn't putting words in your mouth. I may have drawn a conclusion from your remarks which you did not intend, but I didn't attribute anything to you, or suggest this was a view of yours or something you have actually said. The line about the "stripes" though, you must admit, was ripe for misinterpretation. Apparently Ezzie also didn't catch your true meaning - whatever it was.

PS: Has Silver really "given up this chance to help those in his own community?" You make it sound like Silver betrayed Orthodox Jews and killed Pataki's proposal, because he is "bend[ing] over backwards to appear impartial" when in reality Silver has offered a counter proposal, one that arguably helps more people (certainly more people in hiw own district, the people to whom he is ultimately responsible, and possibly more JEws as well.)

Why are you killing Silver and accusing him of betraying Orthodox Jews, when he's proposed a plan that's arguably better than Patakis?

1:06 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

The pragmatic objection (among others) is that the tax credit might damage public schools, and the students who rely on them.

Tax credits do not affect public schools. They reimburse parents for extra tutoring or education their children need as a result of living in a failing school ditrict. What do you propose? Throwing more money at the failing school district and hoping it helps? Very pragmatic.

Another, is concern that yeshivas will raise tuition if the tax credit is approved.

There are some who worry about that, but that possibilty is certainly not a great pragmatic reason to oppose putting money in parents' pockets. Pretty weak.

The principled objection (among others) is that the state shouldn't be supporting parochial education, because this erodes the state/church wall in a way that might ultimately hurt us.

That may be a principled objection, but it is also an ignorant one. This aid does not help parochial schools. It helps parents. Some whose children are in private school, some whose children are in public school. It is obvious to me that you need to brush up a bit on this proposal, something it seems you still haven't done since I recall you posting your objections to it way back when.

when in reality Silver has offered a counter proposal, one that arguably helps more people (certainly more people in hiw own district, the people to whom he is ultimately responsible, and possibly more JEws as well.)

Why are you killing Silver and accusing him of betraying Orthodox Jews, when he's proposed a plan that's arguably better than Patakis?


Please. Make a case why it is better than Pataki's. Silver is clearly bowing to the pressure of the teachers' union at the expense of his constituents' best interests. That may be an advised and studied political move on his part, but I am not impressed with his weak stand on helping struggling parents. And I am not accusing him of betraying Orthodox Jews per se, as much as choosing a lobby over his own constituents. In this case, the constituents I feel he is betraying happen to include his own community.

1:38 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Tax credits do not affect public schools. They reimburse parents for extra tutoring or education their children need as a result of living in a failing school ditrict. What do you propose? Throwing more money at the failing school district and hoping it helps?

Do the tax credits take money aways from the school budgets? If not, I withdraw this objection. However, I do not agree that "Throwing more money at the failing school district" is necessarily a mistake. A broken school district can be fixed -it's happened before. The point is his: Govt has a responsibility to try to fix a broken school, for the benfits of all the students who use it. Abdicating that responsibility by throwing money at parents (who may not even choose to use it on their kids) is hardly a solution.

There are some who worry about that, but that possibilty is certainly not a great pragmatic reason to oppose putting money in parents' pockets. Pretty weak.

Oh no? If schools raise tuition (which they certainly will do; anyone familair with yeshivot understands that) what have you acheived by throwing $500 at parents? I fail to see why you call that objection weak: It shows why Pataki's plan is pointless. (Also, have you noticed that the yeshivot are among the most vocal supporters of Pataki's plan? Would they be investing so much time, enery and money if they stood to gain nothing?)


That may be a principled objection, but it is also an ignorant one. This aid does not help parochial schools. It helps parents


How? If yeshivot raise tuition how are parents helped? If yeshivot don't raise tuitions, but instead do nothing to improve their schools, how are parents helped? The problem with Patakis plan is that there's no way at all to ensure it will improve education, and there's no way to ensure that yeshivot won't raise tuitions (which of course they will do.) You sound awfully invested in the Patacki proposal. It's blinding you to the plans very real flaws, flaws Silver's plan addresses.

That may be an advised and studied political move on his part, but I am not impressed with his weak stand on helping struggling parents

Have you read Silver's plan? It does more to help "struggling parents" than Patakis. Silver's plan gives money in the form of a tax credit to ALL parents within a certain tax bracket; not to rich parents who live in a bad school district, as Pataki would. The struggling parent rhetoric sounds great; kudos!; but it's more aptly applied to Silver's plan. Patacki would give money to people who don't need it simply because they live in a bad school district. That's bad policy.

And I am not accusing him of betraying Orthodox Jews per se,

Ok. I accept your statment and retract anything I may have said earlier that suggested otherwise.

as much as choosing a lobby over his own constituents. In this case, the constituents I feel he is betraying happen to include his own community.

Is he betraying his district? I don't think so. And ultimately he owes more to his district than to Orthodox Jews. He is their represenative. Not our ambassador.

7:33 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Do the tax credits take money aways from the school budgets

No. They are a separate tax credit offered to parents.

I do not agree that "Throwing more money at the failing school district" is necessarily a mistake.

Nor do I. I also do not feel it gives the parents a pragmatic, immediate tool to improve their children's education in real time.

Oh no? If schools raise tuition (which they certainly will do; anyone familair with yeshivot understands that) what have you acheived by throwing $500 at parents? I fail to see why you call that objection weak: It shows why Pataki's plan is pointless. (Also, have you noticed that the yeshivot are among the most vocal supporters of Pataki's plan? Would they be investing so much time, enery and money if they stood to gain nothing?)

First of all, there is no way to know that will be the case. Second of all, just because a destitute parent can afford to pay for food and get off Tomchei Shabbos does not mean that the 500$ will make them any more capable of paying more tuition. This is simply money in their pockets. Additionally, as I have said countless times, this tax credit is not only for orthodox paremts. Public school parents, non-Jewish private school parents, they will all be helped with this.

Have you read Silver's plan? It does more to help "struggling parents" than Patakis. Silver's plan gives money in the form of a tax credit to ALL parents within a certain tax bracket; not to rich parents who live in a bad school district, as Pataki would. The struggling parent rhetoric sounds great; kudos!; but it's more aptly applied to Silver's plan. Patacki would give money to people who don't need it simply because they live in a bad school district. That's bad policy.

That's because you may not understand the mechanism of a tax credit. A tax credit is offered by the government to encourage a certain type of behavior. The education tax credit proposal encourages parents to take responsibilty for their children's education. They must prove that they have spent money on their children's extracurricular education to receive it. Shell's tax credit simply encourages people to have children. The linkage between the tax credit plan and education is there for a reason - to encourage people to actually make education a priority. Thios proposal also has the very real added benefit of assisting private school parents.

Is he betraying his district? I don't think so. And ultimately he owes more to his district than to Orthodox Jews. He is their represenative. Not our ambassador.

Again, I feel he is NOT helping his consituents here. He is also not the ambassador for teachers' union, though he is acting like it.

8:32 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Oh, and this:
Silver's plan gives money in the form of a tax credit to ALL parents within a certain tax bracket; not to rich parents who live in a bad school district, as Pataki would. The struggling parent rhetoric sounds great; kudos!; but it's more aptly applied to Silver's plan. Patacki would give money to people who don't need it simply because they live in a bad school district. That's bad policy.

is just patently untrue. How exactly did you get that Pataki's plan helps rich people?? Shelly's tax plan has a much higher income tax cap than Pataki's plan, which will only to those making a family income of under $90,000. Oh, and by the way, if you're worried about how much the Pataki proposal will cost, you should be even more worried about Shelly's plan. His costs much much more.

8:47 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

1 - I prefer the principle behind the Silver plan because it's not linked to educations, and because it pays parents who are in a certain tax bracket, whereas the Patacki plan pays people who are living in a bad district - even if they are wealthy. We can go back and forth on this all night, certianly, but I think our POvs are pretty well staked out.

2 - I agree Silver isn't the teacher's unions ambassador, but is he acting like one here? How does his plan do more for teachers than Patacki's plan?

9:50 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I prefer the principle behind the Silver plan because it's not linked to educations, and because it pays parents who are in a certain tax bracket, whereas the Patacki plan pays people who are living in a bad district - even if they are wealthy.

Huh? I still don't understand what you mean. Shelly's plan helps far wealthier parents than Pataki's does. Both plans help parents in a certain tax bracket - but Shelly's plan has a higher cap. I think you might be confused on this.

I agree Silver isn't the teacher's unions ambassador, but is he acting like one here? How does his plan do more for teachers than Patacki's plan?

That is actually an excellent question. Why don't you ask the teachers' union why they are so against the education tax credit proposal, and then maybe you can tell me why they are pressuring Shelly on this. As I mentioned, Shelly's plan will take a much larger piece of the pie than Pataki's.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'You get to itemize that property tax, along with your mortgage interest and charitable deductions on your tax form. '

If you are subject to Alternative Minimum Tax, as more and more of us are, property taxes are not deductible.

'homemakers do not receive the tax breaks that working mothers do. '

To the contrary, the married filing jointly rates are MUCH lower than other tax rates. That is a huge tax break for one income families.

'He should not help the Orthodox community any less than any other of his constituents. He rescinded his support for the death penalty because the Black and Latino caucus in the State assembly opposed it.'

I would suspect that there is a lot going on that we don't know about. Speaker Silver remains Speaker because of the votes of the Democrats in the Assembly, who are much further to the left than most frum Jews, and because of the votes of the voters in his district, who are mostly not frum Jews and send their kids to public schools. The CFE is MUCH more important to all these constituents. I said before that I didn't think there would be a tax credit until the CFE was resolved; I still think that is the case.

What will likely happen is that this will all get worked out in a few weeks or months by Pataki, Bruno, and Silver. I don't know how enthusiastic Bruno will be at supporting the tax credit; the typical voter in a Republican Senate district is a suburban or upstate public school parent worried about high property taxes. The tax credit won't help them.

'Have you read Silver's plan?'

I have not read EITHER plan. Does anyone have a link to the text of either?

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am posting anonymously so the Bear doesn't hate me forever, but OM, you killed him. You rock. Heck, ou convinced me.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi !!!
Today has bought mangosteen and has understood that knowingly in Asia, the mangosteen fruit is known as the " Queen of Fruits. " It is really tasty fruit which possesses set useful qualities. Mangosteen Fruit and Juice - scientific research and info about the anti-inflamatory anti-oxidant power of Xanthone-rich mangosteen fruit. I recommend all! Who wishes to buy or learn more address in mangosteen shop!

3:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home