Hikind Plots Next Move For Education Tax Credit Initiative

Assemblyman Dov Hikind talks strategy in getting the education tax credit passed.

Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind, this week, addressed an emergency meeting in the offices of Agudah Israel of America to discuss strategies to rally support for Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s  education tax credit bill.

Cuomo introduced his proposal, called the Parental Choice in Education Act, two weeks ago. The bill earmarked $70 million as a tax credit for low-income parents whose children attend non-public schools. In addition, the bill provides for $50 million in tax credits for donations to scholarship funds benefiting low and middle income nonpublic school students.

In attendance at the meeting were Agudath members and representatives from numerous New York Yeshivas.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Assemblyman Dov Hikind

“We have this week and three more weeks,” said Hikind. “This is when things get done. Here’s what I think needs to be done: You have to set up a war room… and not just Agudath. If you do it by yourself, we’re not going to succeed. You must work with all the others involved in this issue, and let everyone take a certain responsibility in terms of centering in on 20 [Assembly Members]. There are [Members] who are not going to support this bill regardless. If G-d comes down and tells them to support it, it won’t matter. We know who they are. Forget about them. Agudah has to take a list of people and not go to the same people again. Meet with those people, explain to those people. The arguments that have been made [opposing this] are ludicrous and dishonest. The radio ad that’s running from the teacher’s union that I responded to very strongly said this is for the rich. That’s shecker. It’s the Big Lie.”


Hikind stressed the need for pro-activism with a grassroots campaign in the form of a massive stream of telephone calls, emails and letters could tip the balance in Albany, producing the numbers needed to pass the bill. He also called on all yeshiva parents to make their voices heard.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, chaired the meeting and called Cuomo’s initiative a “game-changer,” but said it will not easy to get the tax credit passed.

“The forces of opposition are already lining up,” he cautioned, citing the teachers unions and liberal media organs that have slammed the bill. There must be a counter effort powerful enough to push the proposal to victory, he said.

The senate already passed a version of the bill, but for it to become law the assembly now has to sign onto it.