New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan stars in a new “substantial” TV ad buy that calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to get an education tax credit passed for parents who send their kids to private school.
And he and other bishops from around New York State plan a Palm Sunday Mass blitz this weekend with a letter to churchgoers.
In the ad, Dolan, the head of New York’s powerful Catholic Archdiocese, all but calls the governor, who is also Catholic, a liar.
“Governor Cuomo had assured us that he would fight for an innovative plan to help these students,” Dolan says in the commercial. “But when the state budget was done, we were left out. Governor Cuomo, we're glad to hear you say the education tax credit should be passed, that you get it. But now's the time to get it done.
“Please don't forget us, governor. Pass that education tax credit, so every child can have a great school,” the cardinal continues.
“We're all counting on you.”
Disappointed-looking children of different races and ages from St. Mark the Evangelist school in Harlem surround Dolan, and have the last word in the ad.
“Governor Cuomo: Don’t let us down!” they plead.
The Dolan spot was actually filmed, and first ran, last June after the tax credit, which would encourage private donations to parochial schools, failed to get into last year’s New York State budget.
A group calling itself “Invest in Education” is behind the spot, which started running anew Wednesday.
That same scenario looks likely again this year.
The governor has tied passage of the tax credit to passage of a New York State Dream Act, which would allow state taxpayer tuition aid to undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
The bishops, in their Palm Sunday letter, say Cuomo was wrong to do that: "The bishops believe it is imperative that the tax credit be enacted as part of the budget, and should stand on its own merits.”
Cuomo said earlier this week both proposals are off the table -- for now -- due to partisan opposition.
“We have no agreement, we are nowhere close to an agreement,” the Democrat said, noting that the GOP-dominated Cuomo Senate opposes the Dream Act and Democratic Assembly has nixed the tax credit.
“They’re both dug in, so it was pointless,” said Cuomo. “I support both deeply.”
Reporter Liz Benjamin, in theState of Politics blog, writes that backers of the Education Tax Credit say the Dolan ad buy is “substantial ...and the spot will air on Time Warner Cable News, NY1, Capital Region broadcast and New York City cable.”