Gov. Cuomo’s budget plan would deny nearly $1 billion in state aid to 372,000 legal New York college students if the Legislature refuses to provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants and tax credits to supporters of parochial schools.
The poison pill was inserted by Cuomo into the state budget last week, but isn’t widely known.
State Conservative Party chairman Mike Long fumed, “This is definitely blackmail. The governor is holding college students hostage. It’s ethically wrong.”
The state spent $935.6 million on Tuition Assistance Program benefits to 372,527 students last year. Grants ranged from $500 to $5,000.
But in amendments to his budget plan, Cuomo linked the release of the TAP grants to expanding eligibility to undocumented residents as well as enactment of the Education Tax Credit.
The way the budget bill is written, the Legislature can’t reject the Dream Act or the tax credit without also wiping out the entire tuition assistance program for nearly 400,0000 college students.
The actual language of the amendment says “funds from this [TAP] appropriation shall not be spent” unless the two other programs are also approved.
Cuomo is calculating that his provocative maneuver will force lawmakers to pass both the Dream Act and the Education Tax Credit to avoid being blamed for scrapping the popular tuition grants.
Asked about the linkage, Cuomo’s office provided a comment the governor recently made on Long Island.
“It’s the best way to get it passed,” he said. “Because they wouldn’t pass it last year, and I think this gives it the greatest likelihood of passing.”
Pretty soon they'll be no other legislation passed in New York State except for the stuff Cuomo sticks into the 30 day budget amendments tied to other things.
I'm not sure when we went from living in a democracy to an autocracy, but that's where we're at these days.
Cuomo - the governor with the 44%-55% job approval rating - is imposing his will on the state like he's The Sun King.
Pass what I want or I kill off all state financial aid to college students.