Cardinal Dolan calls for tax-credit, Dream Act compromise

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Cardinal Dolan. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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ALBANY—Cardinal Timothy Dolan released a statement Wednesday offering support for a possible compromise proposal that would combine a tax credit for donations to private-school scholarships and a fund to help illegal immigrants meet college costs.

Last week, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver rejected a trade in budget negotiations that would include both the Catholic Church-backed Education Investment Tax Credit and the Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrants access to state-funded tuition assistance programs.

While Republicans have opposed the Dream Act, they have supported a "Dream Fund," which would provide private scholarships for immigrants.

Dolan's statement suggests a deal could be on the table to extend the proposed tax credit, which is meant to incentivize donations to private and parochial school scholarships, to a fund for college-bound immigrants.

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“We have been advocating for the Education Investment Tax Credit as a critically needed measure to help provide scholarships for families to pay tuition for children attending private and parochial schools,” Dolan said in a statement. “At this time in Albany, there is discussion of expanding this education tax credit concept to include scholarship funding for college students in need, including those students who might not otherwise qualify for other assistance opportunities.

“We support this expanded concept and urge its passage,” Dolan said.

When asked Tuesday about a possible combination of the tax credit proposal and privately funded scholarships for immigrants, Assembly Higher Education chair Deborah Glick said, “I can't imagine that.”

“All these people who are all in favor of a Dream Fund—there are various organizations that support and help undocumented students. They're totally free today to be sending them a check,” Glick said. “So it's totally a red herring.”