New York – Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) was joined by Councilman Eric A. Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Rev. Msgr. Kiernan E. Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Rabbi Mordechai Besser, Principal of Manhattan Day School, and Sam A. Sutton, Co-President, TEACH NYS, on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday to applaud the decision to exempt private and parochial schools from the MTA payroll tax. Prior to Tuesday’s agreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, only public schools were exempt from the tax.
“Simply put, this is an issue of fairness and equity. It’s not right to hold private schools to a different standard than public schools. I applaud Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Skelos for addressing this double standard, which will help yeshivas and other private schools continue providing quality education for our children. I am optimistic that this is the beginning of a turning of the corner in terms of equity for state aid to private schools,” said Greenfield.
“This common-sense agreement recognizes the important role private and parochial schools play in our neighborhoods. It wasn’t fair to tax them at a higher rate than public schools, and I applaud the state for eliminating this tax burden for all schools,” said Ulrich
“Since the MTA tax first went into effect two years ago, TEACH NYS has consistently advocated fairness for the non-public schools. We are grateful to our partners in the Jewish community and among the New York State Catholic Conference. NYS TEACH hopes this latest act of fairness demonstrates the willingness of State government to alleviate some of the strain on taxpaying parents who choose religious or other non-public educational options for their children,” said Sutton.
“It’s nice to see the State recognizes what an important, dare I say critical role, non-public schools play in the education system. The teachers, who nurture thousands of children, should be treated at least as well as their public school counterparts. This is a good first step in showing the non-public schools that they deserve the State’s support and respect, just as the public school teachers do,” said Rabbi Besser.
“I’m pleased that the state has ended its unfair treatment of religious and other private schools. These schools contribute greatly to our city’s education system, so it’s only right to treat all education institutions the same when it comes to this tax,” said Msgr. Harrington.
The agreement was part of a comprehensive state plan aimed at creating jobs and growing the economy. This reduction in tax burden will save non-public schools an estimated $8 million annually throughout the region, benefiting 400,000 students, including 100,000 in Jewish day schools and yeshivas. Depending on the size of a schools, they will save anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
(YWN Desk – NYC)