Last week Governor David Paterson vetoed hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for many Jewish groups including Agudath Israel of America, Ohel and countless JCC’s in New York. Each of these groups had thousands of “pork barrel” dollars allocated to them that they will no longer receive.
Even worse, the much celebrated TAP program for Yeshivas, that was slated to bring in millions of dollars, was vetoed as well. The news came as a huge shock to yeshiva leaders who only last week were celebrating TAP’s passage , “It’s really sad that the Governor, who introduced this proposal for our yeshivas when he was running for re-election, was the one who ended up killing it after he decided not to run anymore,” said one yeshiva administrator who suspects that politics may have been to blame.
Insiders, who defend the Governor, say he had no choice but to veto the TAP funding because it was attached to a larger spending bill rather then being introduced on its own. Those insiders were holding out hope that the Governor would not “deliver” the vetoes to the legislature but would instead negotiate a new budget package which would include the restoration of TAP and “pork barrel” funding. That hope disappeared last week after Governor Paterson made a show of “delivering” the nearly 7,000 vetoes to the desks of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader John Sampson, as required by law.
Despite the apparent grim situation, there may yet be some hope. One legislator close to the Governor insisted that the Governor is still committed to TAP and will agree to the restoration of these funds if the opportunity presents itself this summer. Of course, that would require the consent of all three Albany leaders – the Governor, the Speaker and the Senate Leader. As of now, any deals between those three appear elusive.
(Simcha Katz – YWN)