Bishop Matano seeks support for tax-credit proposal - Catholic Courier
First-grader Rihanna Rosa raises her hand during class Jan. 14 at St. Kateri School in Irondequoit. First-grader Rihanna Rosa raises her hand during class Jan. 14 at St. Kateri School in Irondequoit.

Bishop Matano seeks support for tax-credit proposal

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano is asking parishioners throughout the Rochester Diocese to support the state Education Investment Tax Credit proposal.

In a letter to diocesan parish leaders, Bishop Matano noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is preparing to release his 2015 executive budget proposal on Jan. 27. Thus, the bishop is calling on diocesan Catholics to contact the governor’s office — by calling 518-474-8390 — no later than Jan. 21 to ask for the tax-credit proposal to be included in the budget.

Bishop Matano’s letter, which was to be made available in church bulletins and at church entrances, pointed out that the state’s bishops are striving to reverse an unsuccessful effort to have the proposal passed in 2014.

“We are presented with a new opportunity in 2015 to enact a program to assist tuition-paying families with the education of their children,” Bishop Matano wrote. “The proposal will help families afford tuition at Catholic and other parochial schools by generating an additional $150 million in scholarships. The bill also provides an equal level of support to public schools.”

The letter goes on to note that this proposal is supported by “the overwhelming majority of our state Senators and Assembly members” and Gov. Cuomo as well. Even so, Bishop Matano wrote, “A state budget was enacted last year that included a substantial increase in support for charter schools and public schools while failing to address the needs of tuition-paying families. While we support all educational options for families, taxpayer support for public and charter schools without support for tuition-paying families is unjust and unacceptable.”

“We simply cannot ignore the needs of low- and middle-income families who want a religious and independent school education for their children,” Bishop Matano added, noting that enactment of an education tax-credit measure is the state bishops’ “top legislative priority in education.”

Anthony Cook, diocesan superintendent of schools, added that local advocacy for passage of the Education Investment Tax Credit bill will continue for several weeks. Cook pointed out that even if Cuomo initially includes this measure to his budget, he might also remove it before April 1, which is the state Legislature’s target date for passing the budget. Thus, Cook is encouraging diocesan Catholics — particularly in areas with Catholic schools — to voice support of the tax-credit bill to their local legislators via letters and phone calls between Feb. 15 and March 31.

“We want to continue to put pressure on. We want this bill to be included no matter what,” Cook said. “Any support we can get for this bill and this legislative action, the better.”

Tags: Bishop Salvatore R. Matano
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