N.Y. Assembly Speaker Reject Parochial School Bailout

After a Tuesday meeting with Cardinal John Egan, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver declared that a tax credit subsidizing Catholic school tuition "is not something they would consider" reported the Ithaca Journal.

The cardinal had been working to drum up support for the special tax credit in the hopes of adding $460 million to the coffers of his private school system. In his lobbying, Egan appealed to the fact that 42 Catholic schools are slated to close in June.

The state assembly, however, is facing its own education woes and can't afford to prop up a faltering private system. A court has ordered the state government to provide more education aid for New York City's school system making Egan's $460 million request unpalatable.

In response to Speaker Silver's statement, Egan lashed out at the state's public school teachers.

"It must be said that the leadership of the teachers' unions in our state have obstructed reform that is in the best interest of children" he said at a press conference.

What Egan neglects is the fact that public tax dollars already fund a number of services for students in his schools. Public dollars are used to pay for transportation, textbooks and other educational materials.

Subsidizing tuition would take it much too far. Tax credits and vouchers cross the line separating church and state and threaten the already struggling public school system.