MCPEARL (Monroe Citizens for Public Education and Religious Liberty), a Monroe County, N.Y. coalition, strives to keep public funds for public schools only.
In election years, MCPEARL seeks the views of major-party candidates running in Monroe County about public funds for nonpublic schools. This year, we asked state legislative candidates, “Should N.Y. State provide state income tax credits and/or tuition vouchers for children who attend nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, including religious schools?”
“If you would rather consider a particular bill than answer the general question, please tell us, do you favor N.Y. Senate Bill 01436, which would give a state income tax cut of up to $500 per child, per year to low-income families who pay tuition at elementary or secondary schools?”
N.Y. State Assembly Candidates
District 133: Nojay, Weaver
One letter, two emails, and thirteen telephone calls drew no answer from Bill Nojay, Republican.
Randolph Weaver wrote, “No.”
District 134: Reilich
In 2010, the spokesperson for William Reilich, Republican, said his voting record showed that he was for vouchers. In 2012, Reilich has no Democratic opponent.
District 135: Johns, Koon
Mark Johns, Republican, wrote, “If the Assembly presents a companion piece of legislation to Senate Bill S1436 I will support it because I feel that an income tax credit of $500 per child would greatly benefit low-income families.
David Koon, Democrat, wrote, “I have always been against state taxpayer dollars going to non-state schools. The answer is NO!!!!”
District 136: Morelle
Joseph Morelle, Democrat, wrote, “I do not support state income tax credits or tuition vouchers for children who attend nonpublic elementary or secondary schools.” No Republican opposes Morelle.
District 137: Gantt
One letter, two emails, and four telephone calls elicited no answer from David Gantt, Democrat. No Republican opposes Gantt.
District 138: Bronson, Vazquez
Harry Bronson, Democrat, wrote, “I believe that this legislation would undermine a fundamental tenet of our public policy, that we provide a sound public education to our children.”
One letter, one email, and seven telephone calls extracted no answer from Peterson Vazquez, Republican.
District 139: Hawley
Stephen Hawley, Republican, wrote, “With deficits every year the idea of new tax credits would be difficult to implement from a fiscal point of view, with that said I am not in favor of supporting this legislation.” No Democrat opposes Hawley.
N.Y. State Senate Candidates
District 54: Nozzolio
In 2004, Michael Nozzolio, Republican, said, “In the past I have supported proposals to implement education vouchers in New York State.” No Democrat opposes Nozzolio.
District 55: Hanna, O’Brien
One letter, one email, and six telephone calls evoked no answer from Sean Hanna, Republican.
The campaign manager of Ted O’Brien, Democrat, wrote, “Ted does not support providing state income tax credits and/or tuition vouchers for children who attend nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, including religious schools.”
District 56: Robach
In 2008, Joseph Robach, Republican, co-sponsored a similar tax-credit bill. In 2012, he said his position had not changed. No Democrat opposes Robach.
District 59: Gallivan
The spokeswoman for Patrick Gallivan, Republican, wrote, “Senator Gallivan, in the past, has supported funding for non-public schools and is not opposed to supporting educational choices for students.” No Democrat opposes Gallivan.
District 61: Ranzenhofer, Rooney
Michael Ranzenhofer, Republican, said, “There should be some sort of voucher assistance for nonpublic education.”
Justin Rooney said that tax credits were appropriate, but he would not be for tuition vouchers.
District 62: Maziarz, Witryol
George Maziarz, Republican, co-sponsored the tax-credit bill, S01436.
Amy Hope Witryol, Democrat, wrote, “I’m not in favor of new tax credits for private schools.”
Monroe County Candidates for U.S. Congress
This year, MCPEARL asked candidates for U.S. Congress, “Should the federal government provide income tax credits and/or tuition vouchers for children who attend nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, including religious schools?”
“Alternatively, if you would rather consider particular program than answer the general question, please tell us, should Congress re-enact the federal Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), a tuition voucher initiative in the District of Columbia?”
Below are the sorry results of our inquiry.
District 25: Brooks, Slaughter
One letter, one email, and six telephone calls drew no answer from Maggie Brooks, Republican.
Louise Slaughter, Democrat, voted to end the District of Columbia voucher program.
District 27: Collins, Hochul
One letter, two emails, and nine telephone calls elicited no reply from Chris Collins, Republican.
A spokesman for Kathy Hochul, Democrat, said, “We didn’t want to dive into that issue at this time.”