March 2018 Update
From New York State:
- 529 Plans were recently expanded to help families pay tuition for kindergarten through 12th grade. However, New York State may require a taxpayer to not only pay back the tax on the amount that was previously deducted, but also pay income tax on any earnings. The New York State Catholic Conference is trying to ensure that a taxpayer in not penalized when taking advantage of the expanded 529 Plans and that they can obtain the full benefits of 529 accounts for kindergarten through 12th grade tuition that are available to families for college tuition.
- Governor Cuomo included in his Executive Budget Proposal, a radical bill that would expand late term abortions in New York State. The Governor has proposed to legalize infanticide when a baby is born alive during an attempted abortion. The bill would also eliminate New York’s ban on late term abortions, empower non-doctors to perform abortions, and remove protections against unwanted or coerced abortions. The enacted state budget requires three-way negotiation and must be finalized by April 1.
- You can still contact your legislators in the Senate about this radical bill by going to www.nyscatholic.com ,clicking on “Take Action,” and then sending an email. Encourage your family and friends to do the same. A great article by Kathleen Gallagher, Director of Pro-life Activities for the NYS Catholic Conference, was in the Evangelist on February 15, entitled, “Abortion-expanding budget not good for women, children.”
- Legislators last year restored the instructional time formula upon which our schools received mandated services reimbursement. Governor Cuomo vetoed the measure. Unless the formula is restored, many of our schools will suffer a cut in their state funding. Lawmakers are considering changes in multiple programs, transportation, health and safety, security, and STEM. Catholic schools need to be ensured that they will continue to benefit from these programs. Knowing that lawmakers will provide an increase in support to public schools and charter schools, we need to ensure that Catholic schools and families not only receive the support to which they are entitled, but receive their fair share of increased support in current and new educational programs.
- Direct Care Workers in NYS received $55,000 in last year’s budget for salary increases to be phased in through 2020. They are asking for an additional $18,000 in this year’s budget as well as to move up the time frame for the increases.
On the Federal Level:
- With the Supreme Court’s February 26th decision to deny the administration’s emergency appeal on DACA, Congress’ urgency to pass a fix before the March 5th deadline lost momentum. The Supreme Court’s decision allows two previous rulings to continue through the appeals process and jeeps the DACA programs alive for the time being. This provides only a temporary solution, and it is vital to emphasize the urgency for Congress to act now and pass a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers.
- The President’s Budget proposed changes to programs which assist poor and vulnerable people. These include cutting federal Medicaid funding by $250 billion over the next ten years; cutting more than $213 billion over ten years from SNAP, while also calling for a restructuring of the program so that a portion of the SNAP benefits would arrive via a household box of non-perishable food and shelf-stable milk. The proposal would also limit states from seeking a waiver for work requirement.
Thank you for your advocacy.
Marie Copeland and Sheila Morris Barnes, Co-‐chairs