The following Editorial was published in the NY Post on June 15, 2015:
Here’s a rarity for New York: Assembly Democrats are standing firm against dozens of labor groups by blocking a bill that would help the union members’ kids.
The bill would encourage giving to union (and other) scholarship funds, by offering donors a tax credit. Grants from these funds would go to poor and middle-class families, including those who belong to the unions, to help them afford private and religious schools and so escape rotten public schools.
The unions are desperate for the bill to pass, because they hope to raise enough money to help as many of their members’ kids as possible. This weekend, dozens of the labor groups called on the Assembly to stop blocking the bill.
“Our scholarship fund is always under financial strain,” says James Lemonda, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Assocation. The bill, he explains, “would encourage contributions” to help “assist the children of our fallen.”
Richard Wells, of the Police Conference, notes that “the vast majority” of the 200-plus associations tied to his group offer tuition aid to kids “of police officers killed or injured in the line of duty.” The bill, he says, would “directly help these children.”
Religious and community groups are also lobbying for the bill. They’re eager to give poor, middle-class and minority kids the same advantage rich kids have: i.e., a decent education at a private school.
So why are Assembly Dems blocking it? Don’t they claim to be champions of the poor and middle class — and union allies?
It’s because one monster labor interest opposes the bill: The teachers unions want to keep kids locked in union-dominated public schools, no matter how awful they are.
That’s right: The teacher-union honchos see a bill that offers hope to children as a mortal threat to their turf — and many Assembly Democrats are too cowardly to defy the bosses.
If the Assembly kills this bill, its members lose all right to pose as defenders of the poor, the middle class and minorities — or even as true friends of labor.