God, Schools, Taxes

The alliance forming around Education Tax Credits could make them hard to stop, and it’s worth noting that this may be the most successful campaign by religious groups in secular New York in a while.

How religious? Well, a key meeting was held yesterday at the headquarters of the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel in Manhattan. Along with Governor Pataki’s Jewish liason and a Spitzer deputy who has been working on these issues for years were leaders of the Catholic, African-American, and Hispanic clergy. It was arranged, a correspondent writes, in part by George Klein, a real estate developer who is active in the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Now, the policy seems arguablem, and rather broadly targeted. Are private school parents the most needy of state education aid? Parochial school parents? At the same time, the combination of “tax break” and “education” and “God” is a politically potent one.

An Orthodox reader points out that Shelly Silver is probably the last obstacle to the plan.

“Dillema for Shelly: Is he loyal to the Unions or to the Tribe?”

UPDATE: Teach NYS’s Michael Tobman was among those calling to disagree with the interpretation of yesterday’s meeting. His group, “a coalition of public school parents and lay leaders from the Catholic, Jewish and independent school communities” wanted “to point out that this is a tax credit that will benefit public school parents more than any other group.” I should add that there are income caps for parents to qualify for the $500-per-kid credit, and that the money goes to the parents, not the schools.