ORTHODOX UNION COMMENDS PENNSYLVANIA LAWMAKERS FOR KEEPING EITC PROGRAM INTACT
A hard fought advocacy effort yields real results for students & families
Today, the Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauded the Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor Ed Rendell for maintaining the funding level for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) in this year’s state budget at its current $60 million.
Since its inception in 2001, the EITC program has distributed millions of dollars in scholarship aid to students, including those in Jewish day schools, across Pennsylvania through corporate donations to non-profit scholarship organizations. Due to budgetary constraints, the program was reduced from $75 million to $60 million in last year’s budget, with a stipulation that it be reduced by an additional $10 million for fiscal year 2010-2011.
Thanks to statewide advocacy efforts parents, school leaders and efforts by the Orthodox Union, in partnership with REACH, Pennsylvania CAPE, the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and others, the EITC program avoided this devastating cut in appropriations and will maintain level funding with the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Left to Right: Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, Dan Kraut, Sally Stein, Jesse Hervitz, Howie Beigelman, Ellis Rosenberg, Rabbi Akiva Males attend rally for the EITC at the Pennsylvania Capitol
Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy, stated:
“Pennsylvania legislators and Governor Rendell stepped up to the plate this year. Another $10 million cut to EITC would have been crippling to schools and families in need. In a tough budget year, we commend elected officials for recognizing EITC as a worthwhile program serving thousands of children in need. This was a hard fought advocacy effort by a partnership of concerned parents, schools and others – and it paid off with real results for real Pennsylvanians.”
The Orthodox Union thanks all legislators and the Governor for their efforts here. In particular, a special thanks is due to House Speaker Keith McCall (D-Carbon) and Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin, York) for their leadership on this issue, including sponsoring legislation to restore the EITC program to its previous $75 million in funding.