Supporters for both the DREAM Act and the education tax credit made their case at the Capitol in Albany on Monday. Nick Reisman has more on how the push comes as both measures are intertwined together in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget proposal.
This year two long-sought education measures are being tied together. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget calls for a tax credit aimed at encouraging educational donations while also backing the DREAM Act, which gives tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.
“This is what you have to do in order to accomplish multiple goals. There is not one way to improve the education system in the state of New York. The governor recognizes that the Dream Act, to the tune of $27 million, is going to give a shot, an opportunity for young people already living in this country,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, D – New York.
On Monday at the Capitol, advocates for the education tax credit pushed the issue before state lawmakers.
“It will enable more children to attend our schools. The bottom line would be we wouldn’t see any more schools closing,” said the president of Federation of Catholic School Teachers of the Archdiocese of New York, Julia Pignitaro.
The measure would provide a tax credit for donations to public schools and to scholarship programs aimed at parochial schools.
“If it isn’t approved, that’s just another blow to us in terms of resources that we can bring into our neighborhoods to provide this sort of programming,” said Raki Barlow with Arts and Education at Walk for Art Kids.
Meanwhile, supporters of the DREAM Act at the Capitol held a rally for the legislation that would provide state tuition dollars for undocumented immigrants.
“It’s very symbolic in many ways more than it is financial. It’s saying we’re opening the door to everyone to higher education, which I feel is a right in many ways,” said Jackie Hayes with the New Sanctuary for Immigrants for the Capital District.
Both measures have languished in Albany. The Senate has approved the tax credit measure already, but has balked at the DREAM Act. The Democratic-led Assembly, meanwhile, has supported the DREAM Act, but is yet to approve the tax credit bill.
“It’s a little bit upsetting because I think everything is for the children and their parents and I think all children, all parents, all teachers deserve the same,” said Pignitaro
But with the measures tied together this year by Cuomo, essentially meaning that both must be approved or neither will be law — is leading to some hope.
“It’s in the budget and I feel that we are going to have the New York state Dream Act,” said Antonio Alarcon with Make The Road New York.
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