NYS Passes $168.3B Bud­get De­spite Ex­emp­tion De­mands by Yeshivas

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Han­nah Hayes

On Thurs­day, March 29, it ap­peared that the push to ex­empt pri­vate Jewish schools from state stan­dards by a Brook­lyn state sen­a­tor might threaten the ne­go­ti­a­tions over the new state bud­get.

Demo­cratic Sen­a­tor Sim­cha Felder's, who rep­re­sent a district with an ex­ten­sive Ortho­dox Jewish pop­u­la­tion, de­mand that “pri­vate yeshivas be ex­empted from meet­ing state stan­dards for non­re­li­gious in­struc­tion emerged as one of the last stick­ing points pre­vent­ing Gov. Cuomo and leg­isla­tive lead­ers from fi­nal­iz­ing a $170 bil­lion spend­ing plan. Felder's de­mand was met with stiff resistance from the Demo­crat-con­trolled Assem­bly. ‘It's enough to blow ev­ery­thing up,' said one source with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, adding that the is­sue was ‘toxic' to many mem­bers of the Assem­bly's Demo­cratic con­fer­ence,” ac­cord­ing to The Daily News.

Bud­get bills that had been agreed on were passed by the Assem­bly and Se­nate late Thurs­day night. Af­ter re­con­ven­ing Friday morn­ing, March 30, state law­mak­ers and Cuomo were able to strike a $168.3 bil­lion bud­get deal late that night.

The high­lights of the FY 2019 Bud­get were an­nounced by Cuomo on Friday. The Bud­get builds on the state's record of de­liv­er­ing for New York­ers by mak­ing the high­est ever in­vest­ment in K-12 ed­u­ca­tion, en­act­ing a na­tion-lead­ing women's agenda, ad­vanc­ing 21st cen­tury trans­porta­tion solutions, pro­tect­ing tax­pay­ers against fed­eral tax changes, strength­en­ing the mid­dle class, and mak­ing strate­gic in­vest­ments in New York's fu­ture to drive growth and cre­ate op­por­tu­nity for all. For the eighth con­sec­u­tive year, the Bud­get is bal­anced and holds spend­ing growth to 2 per­cent or less.

The gov­er­nor said, “This bud­get is a bold blue­print for pro­gres­sive ac­tion that builds on seven years of suc­cess and helps New York con­tinue to lead amid a con­certed and sus­tained as­sault from Wash­ing­ton on our val­ues and prin­ci­ples. We put into place the strong­est and most com­pre­hen­sive anti-sex­ual ha­rass­ment pro­tec­tions in the na­tion, end­ing once and for all the se­crecy and co­er­cive prac­tices that have en­abled this un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior for far too long. New York will also be­come the first state to im­ple­ment new mea­sures to shield fam­i­lies from the dev­as­tat­ing fed­eral tax law's elim­i­na­tion of full state and lo­cal de­ductibil­ity — an eco­nomic ar­row aimed at the heart of this state's econ­omy.”

Cuomo con­tin­ued, “It also pro­tects New York's fu­ture with record fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion, cou­pled with new re­forms that fi­nally en­sure trans­parency and eq­uity in how that fund­ing is dis­trib­uted. This bud­get also de­liv­ers for the most vul­ner­a­ble among us, in­clud­ing the NYCHA ten­ants who have had to live with mold, lead and no heat and were placed at risk by a failed bu­reau­cracy, and those who have had to en­dure the in­jus­tice that is Rik­ers Is­land. With this bud­get, we chart a path for­ward and ever up­wards to­ward a bet­ter fu­ture for all New York­ers.”

“With this bud­get, we chart a path for­ward and ever up­wards to­ward a bet­ter fu­ture for all New York­ers.”

Demo­cratic Sen­a­tor Sim­cha Felder’s de­mand that pri­vate Jewish schools be ex­empted from meet­ing state stan­dards was one of the last points pre­vent­ing the fi­nal­iza­tion of New York state’s new bud­get. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

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