News Release Archive

Catholic Charities to advocate for state budget priorities at Albany convening Feb. 9-10

Catholic Charities leaders from across the state will convene at the Capitol in Albany on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 9-10, to advocate for their 2015-16 state budget priorities. The New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors, representing all eight dioceses of the state, will meet with key legislators and members of the Cuomo Administration on behalf of the state’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

The Council’s budget priorities include:

  • Targeted investment in human services:  Fully funding the scheduled 2 percent salary and fringe benefit increases for human services workers; use of bank settlement funds toward an investment in the human services infrastructure; and the development of a strategy  addressing high childhood poverty rates in our upstate cities.
  • Criminal justice:  Fully funding the recommendations from the New York Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice around the issue of raising the age of individuals being charged as adults.
  • Affordable housing:  Fulfilling the commitment to fund affordable housing from the initial bank settlement proceeds, with a request that $439 million be appropriated in the 2015-16 state budget.
  • Services to the intellectually/developmentally disabled and behavioral health populations:  Fully funding these services rather than reducing them to repay the federal government $1.26 billion from a CMS audit; with the use of bank settlement funds if appeals are not successful with federal officials.
  • Unaccompanied minors:  Support for the following items previously raised by the Archdiocese of New York in public testimony:
    • $24 million to support comprehensive case management and transitional support;
    • support for deportation defense legal resources for children living outside New York City;
    • support for expanded legal orientation community-based programs for children and parents/custodians;
    • develop and support legal-medical partnerships and clinics; and
    • expand the OTDA/BRIA Refugee Social Services Program and Targeted Assistance Grant.


The Council of Catholic Charities Directors will also hold a reception on the evening of Feb. 9 at the Albany Hilton.

Statement regarding state’s failure to pass Education Investment Tax Credit

Following is a statement from Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference:

“Along with Catholic school families across the state, we are deeply disappointed and angry at the failure to pass an Education Investment Tax Credit, which would have generated needed scholarships to help families afford parochial schools, yeshivas and other non-public schools, as well as benefitted public schools and all teachers.” More

Statement of the NYS Catholic Conference

PDF file here.

NYSUT and their allies recently issued a memorandum of opposition to the proposed Education Investment Tax Credit in an attempt to discredit the legislation’s worthy and socially valuable purposes. They are not only misguided in their efforts but completely inaccurate in their description of the bill’s provisions and effects.
In fact, they make claims about provisions that are not even contained in the legislation.

To set the record straight, the legislation:

  1. Contains provisions that offset the state tax credit against a federal tax benefit derived from the same charitable donation, to ensure no donor reaps a financial profit from their donation.
  2. Includes income-eligibility levels to ensure that scholarships funded with creditable donations are provided to children of lower-income and working families.
  3. Requires a two-week “open donation” period during which any taxpayer regardless of income can become eligible for a tax credit by committing to making an eligible donation. That ensures that tax credits will be open to any and all New Yorkers who wish to contribute to a non-profit scholarship fund or a public school or public school district.
  4. Is consistent with all constitutional provisions and does not expend tax dollars directly or indirectly to a parochial school. It simply enhances the tax benefit already provided to those who donate to non-profit scholarship funds, public schools and public school districts.
  5. Provides more than half of the benefit to the public school community through direct donations to public schools, organizations serving public schools and a $200 tax credit to every teacher for out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies and materials

Furthermore, New York State already provides some $4.6 billion in state tax credits every year for a myriad of purposes, including job creation, brownfields redevelopment, local beer brewing and more. Some $427 million is expended on credits for Hollywood film and TV show production.

Of the $4.6 billion in existing New York State tax credits, exactly zero goes to elementary and secondary education. Wolf of Wall Street, yes. Scholarships for poor children, no.

New York can do better to address educational and income inequality among children and families. The Education Investment Tax Credit would do just that.

Statewide bulletin insert to call on Gov. Cuomo to get Education Tax Credit Done


Below is the text of a bulletin insert (also in Spanish) that is to be distributed statewide this weekend to more than 2 million Catholics. Gov. Cuomo has indicated there is still time to pass the Education Tax Credit and the Bishops are urging Catholics to contact him immediately, asking that he use his leadership to get it passed.

A Statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops of New York State

Calling on Governor Cuomo and Leaders in Albany: Don’t Let Us Down

More than 200 Catholic schools have closed in the last 15 years throughout New York State, as families and parishes, who strongly believe in the value of Catholic education, struggle to keep up with increasing costs.  Many of our public schools also desperately need help.

To address these needs, the NYS Catholic Bishops joined a broad coalition of faith groups, community organizations and labor unions backing legislation called the Education Investment Tax Credit.  The measure would encourage increased charitable donations to generate more private scholarships as well as dedicated additional resources to public schools.  It also helps all teachers provide needed materials and supplies for every classroom in New York.  More

Catholic Conference receives grant from OSV to develop video, web site on end-of-life decisions

The New York State Catholic Conference has received a $25,500 grant from Our Sunday Visitor to produce a high definition educational video and web site presenting the Church’s teachings on end-of-life issues, serving as a resource for Catholics throughout the country in navigating the sometimes confusing ethical terrain.

The grant stems from the success of a 2011 booklet by the Catholic Bishops of New York State, entitled Now and at the Hour of Our Death: A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decision-Making, which was met with great enthusiasm by pastors, chaplains, health care professionals and individual Catholics, and has seen multiple printings. The video and website will present similar information and additional resources in a simple, easily distributable manner in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

“We are very excited about this project because, as medical  technology progress and more people opt for advance care planning, there is a great need to proclaim the beautiful and instructive guidance of the Catholic tradition,” said Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the Catholic Conference. “We are so grateful to Our Sunday Visitor for the crucial funding which will enable us to reach countless Catholics and others in their time of need.”

The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court decision on prayer at town board meetings

Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Town Board in Greece, N.Y., to open its meetings with prayer.

Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, issued the following statement following the decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway:

“In its decision in the Town of Greece case, the Supreme Court has correctly interpreted the Constitution and reaffirmed the rightful place of ceremonial prayer in the proceedings of American government. Some in our country may wish it otherwise, but a simple reading of the Declaration of Independence (‘The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America’) confirms that this nation was built on the foundational understanding that our rights are derived from our Creator, whereas government is the instrument made by the people ‘to secure these rights.’ We do not owe our thanks to government for our rights; the Constitution was and is merely a written and interpreted expression of the rights already granted us by God. Our uniquely American public ceremonial prayer is a recognition of these ‘self-evident’ truths, and those who seek to undermine this practice do so, unwittingly perhaps, but systematically and steadily, at the peril of the Republic.”

The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.

Bishops disappointed at failure of Albany to deliver Education Investment Tax Credit

Following is a statement of Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference:

“The Bishops of New York State are extremely disappointed that, despite the support of so many rank-and-file members in the state Legislature from both parties as well as religious, business and labor leaders, the Education Investment Tax Credit has not been included in the state budget agreement. More

Statement of Cardinal Dolan on state budget negotiations

Following is a statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the New York State Catholic Conference, regarding ongoing state budget negotiations in Albany:

“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. 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.”

Cardinal Dolan and NYS Bishops in Albany to push for education investment tax credit

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, and the Catholic bishops of New York State are in Albany today, March 18, and tomorrow, March 19, to rally support for the education investment tax credit legislation under consideration in the state legislature. The cardinal and the bishops will be asking Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to include the tax credit in the state budget, which is currently being negotiated.

“Education tax credits are about helping students, and I pray for their sake that our efforts are successful. The time to pass this bill is now,” said Cardinal Dolan.  “With the support of so many of our state’s great labor unions and business leaders, and so many of my brothers and sisters in ministry, I think we have a great chance to do so.” More

Statement on the appointment of Bishop-elect Scharfenberger to Albany

Bishop-elect Scharfenberger

Bishop-elect Scharfenberger

Following is a statement of Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference:

“It is with great joy that we welcome Pope Francis’ appointment of Msgr. Edward B. Scharfenberger as the 10th Bishop of Albany. We are excited to get to know our new local bishop and we look forward to his strong voice impacting the important pastoral and public policy issues facing the Church in the entire state of New York. We also heartily welcome Msgr. Andrzej Zglejszewski as a new Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

“Bishop-elect Scharfenberger’s spirituality, his legal training and his long history as a pastor in a multi-ethnic parish in the melting pot of Queens will serve him well in Albany. As a Bishop whose cathedral is next door to the Executive Mansion and across the street from the Capitol complex, he will undoubtedly have a key role to play as a point person in public policy matters for the Conference. More