As the Senate and Assembly Democrats make their push on minimum wage, reproductive health and other legislative items, the Republicans controlling the New York State Senate instead unveiled a new effort to address college affordability.
According to the press release announcing the plan, the Senate GOP is proposing doubling the tuition tax deductions and tax credits, creating a “Stay-in-New-York” tax credit for people who graduate from a college in New York and stay here, and establishing a new loan program, among other things.
In a special election competition that had been increasingly marred with negative personal attacks between the two candidates, a substantive issue has finally emerged that the candidates are staking their ground on: tuition relief for private school students, especially those attending yeshivas in the heavily Jewish district.
Earlier this morning, the Republican candidate in the race to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger, David Storobin, sent out a positive press release touting his support for a voucher system granting money to parents of private school students.
“The voucher issue is a big one in this district,” Mr. Storobin said in the statement. “For the orthodox Jewish, it’s particularly important. Private tuition for yeshivas can be as much as $10,000 or more per high school student, and almost as much for children in primary school. To a family with five or six children, that is a tremendous burden.”
Councilman Lew Fidler, the Democratic candidate in the special election to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger, is sending out direct mail advocating a heavy increase in state funding to Jewish education institutions. Restraining yeshiva tuition costs is one of the key political issues in the district’s Orthodox neighborhoods, a fact Mr. Fidler is surely aware of.
Yeshiva tuition aid also played a key role in the politics surrounding Mr. Kruger’s seat as he was battling his federal corruption charges. Last April, City & State reported Majority Leader Dean Skelos received a promise of electoral support from the politically powerful social services organization Agudath Israel when he muscled through $18 million in tuition assistance for rabbinical students despite a then-$10 billion deficit.
Mr. Fidler’s plan, outlined in the mailer, goes far beyond that $18 million: