Stasi Versus Schwach
I was happy to read Howard Schwach's memo to me regarding constitutional issues. It had been a week or two where Mr. Schwach hadn't criticized me, and was worried that something may have happened to him.
I would like to clear up three points in which I clearly believe Mr. Schwach misses his mark. Mr. Schwach is concerned that his tax- payer money ought not be used for people who send their children to religious institutions. I do not want Mr. Schwach's money to go to religious schools either. What I also do not want is for Mr. Schwach to tell me, or anyone else, where their money should be spent.
The argument regarding school vouchers was considered unconstitutional by Justice Black in the Supreme Court case Everson v. Board of Education. An education tax credit is not a voucher. There has been strong support in the Supreme Court in recent years that as long as a tax cut is applied uniformly, there is no violation of church and state. Here, Mr. Schwach, is where I fear you have been conditioned by the evils of big government. You seem to keep referring to the money all American's pay in taxes as your money. The Education Tax Credit is a targeted tax cut, that is true, but so are Vice President Gore's proposed tax cuts. Is Vice President Gore operating in violation of the constitution as well?
Mr. Schwach also remains constant on the fact that private schools are religious schools. Ironically enough I was reading my copy of The Wave, while visiting Hofstra University, one of the non-religious affiliated, private institutions that Mr. Schwach doesn't believe exist. There exist private schools that are not affiliated with religious denominations.
My third point is what bothers me most about Mr. Schwach's last column. He seems to refer to the 23rd district as "the white district." The demographics of our district are predominately Caucasian, but the constant reference to the district being "the white assembly seat" has a mean-spirited flavor that insults non-whites in our district. As the next Assemblyman in the 23rd district, I work to make sure that all of our neighbors are going to be a part of the political process. And we can start by giving them all of the resources they need to choose a better education for their children.
ANTHONY P. STASI