LICH Act passes Assembly
July 5, 2015
The State Assembly on Wednesday passed the Local Input in Community Healthcare (LICH) Act.
which prohibits a New York City hospital from closing until the state
health commissioner deems the surrounding community's needs for
emergency medical care are "adequately met," remains stalled in the
In a statement, Jo Anne Simon, the Democrat from Brooklyn
who sponsored the legislation, said it was introduced in response "to
the utter lack of consideration of community health needs or input in
the State's decision to close the historic Long Island College
NY Assembly passes 'LICH Act' hospital bill
July 5, 2015
Would consider public health needs before closing hospitals
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
bill that would require an assessment of community health needs and
more transparency when hospitals are threatened with closure passed the
New York State Assembly on Wednesday.
The measure is meant to ensure that what happened to Brooklyn's Long
Island College Hospital (LICH) won't play out at other hospitals across
New York state.
The Local Input in Community Healthcare (LICH) Act - named after the
now-shuttered hospital -- was sponsored in the Assembly by
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, and in the Senate by state Sen. Daniel
Squadron. The bill has not yet passed in the Senate. more...
You can follow the debate on this bill on the NYS Assembly website here. The LICH Act debate begins at about 3:29:15.
Statement on the Proposed Education Investment Tax Credit/Parental Choice in Education Act
June 11, 2015
June 7, 2015
There is little doubt
that many parents who choose to educate their children in religious or private
schools feel the pinch. I understand this choice and the sacrifice many parents
make. It is a choice my parents made when they sent me to Catholic schools. I
respect the right of all families to educate their children in the manner that
My experiences and
understanding of this issue, however, doesn't change the fact that neither A2551 nor the Executive's
recently re-named Parental Choice in Education Act achieve the asserted goals
in a way that is fair or Constitutional. To date, no changes have been made to A2551 that will allow me
to support it. The executive's proposal has yet to be put in writing.
is clear is this: a well-funded marketing effort has obscured the reality of
what this bill would do.
When I speak with
most of my constituents - even those who attended religious schools - about
what the bill would provide and to whom, they do not support it. The marketing
campaign asserts, for example, that the EITC would "increase the current
tax incentive" to public, private, religious and charter schools,"
and that it would help "all children regardless of where they attend
That makes an
excellent soundbite, but it is not how either the bill, or the governor's
proposal would work. Both provide for taxpayer dollars to be taken away from
the public school system, while only helping a relatively small number of our
State's children. The bill:
- provides for an
unprecedented 75 to 90% reduction in taxes owed - or a tax credit - to
- underwrites the
transfer of tax dollars from private individuals and corporations to
sectarian schools and charter schools; and
- gives up to $1
million tax credit or up to 90% of a contribution.
This would allow
investors to avoid their tax liability by receiving an almost dollar-for-dollar
tax credit for donations of up to $1 million. Such "donations" are
really tax-sheltering investment strategies, accruing as they do to the wealthy
investor directly from the public's pocket. Since contributions made by
individuals to eligible educational organizations under this new tax credit
would be characterized as charitable contributions, they may also be federally
tax-deductible; the investor could reap a profit rate of up to 34% on the
is a big difference between a tax deductible charitable donation where one
makes a gift of one's own resources, and a tax credit, which redirects an
existing tax liability from the state to a religious school entity. Recent mailings and
robo-calls misleading people about this proposal demonstrate a desperate
attempt to hide how this proposal would really work.
Moreover, the notion
that a $450 million package of tax credits over the next two years is needed to
fund $200 to public and charter school teachers for school supplies is
outrageous. If the state has so much money to give away, let it give all
teachers an allowance for school supplies. That I would support.
contentions that some priority may be given to $500 tax credits for families
with less than $60,000 in income, few such families have the resources to
engage the tax advisors necessary to file the necessary papers to apply for the
required contribution authorization certificate of approval in advance of
making the contribution to an approved entity. Instead, those credits will be
gobbled up by education investors, who do have the resources for
sophisticated tax advice. A mere handful of corporations or extremely wealthy
individuals could easily take the maximum tax credit amount and deplete the
entire allowable amount of $150 million allocated for 2015 (with a planned
increase in tax credits next year, that amount could soar to $450 million).
Citizens Budget Commission called the bill "an extremely lucrative benefit likely
to serve the state's wealthiest taxpayer."
Should this or a
similar bill be passed, funding between low and high needs districts is likely
to widen even further. Given the huge disparities in income in New York City
the bill presents a very likely scenario where a few wealthy individuals or
corporations capture the entire program amount and benefit a select few
exclusive private schools. After all, the wealthiest 1% of New York State
residents receive 35% of all income and have literally seen all the income
gains in our state since the Great Recession of 2009-10, while during that same
time period, the wages of most New Yorkers have remained virtually stagnant.
Because the EITC
would allow wealthy individuals and corporations to target their tax liability
and shift tax payer dollars as they choose, and in the process authorize the
transfer of public money to religious school organizations, it may well violate
the First Amendment's Establishment clause. It also violates New York State's
constitutional barring of government's endorsement of religion, and its
prohibition on direct or indirect financial aid to religious schools.
analysis makes clear that few low income children would benefit, while
uber-wealthy adults would be enriched at their expense.