Niagara Gazette

February 22, 2014

GUEST VIEW: Education Investment Tax Credit would help all schools

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The New York State Legislature is considering a bill to increase investment in education in New York state: the Education Investment Tax Credit Act. This bill to create a new state tax credit would provide a dollar-for-dollar credit against New York personal income, corporate franchise, bank and insurance taxes for donations to education-related entities, up to a maximum of 75 percent of tax liability.

If enacted, this bill would go beyond what is provided to education from property taxes and state aid by encouraging greater charitable donations to individual public schools, school districts and nonprofit community-based organizations that provide programs in public schools.

It also would mean more scholarship opportunities for children, especially those from low-income and middle class families who otherwise cannot access or afford quality schooling. And, this bill would encourage donations to organizations that fund teacher-proposed projects and provide a $100 tax credit for teachers to purchase classroom supplies.

As currently proposed, when fully implemented the Education Investment Tax Credit would increase charitable donations from individuals and businesses for education by up to $300 million each year. As a tax proposal, this bill would not affect the amount of state aid for public schools. Instead, it would ensure added investment in education from among the many tax proposals now being considered by the state.

The New York state Senate has twice passed this bill with the support of area Sen. George Maziarz. With the state budget due to be enacted by April 1, the Education Investment Tax Credit is precisely the kind of investment our state should encourage.

Even with higher state aid to education and more pre-k funding expected in the new budget, too many school districts will have insufficient support to provide a well-rounded education for our children. In addition, too many low-income and middle class families that desire an alternative education for their children are being priced out of that opportunity, which will only continue to burden our public schools and property taxes. That’s why we need the Legislature and governor to include this credit in the upcoming state budget.

At a time when New York is looking to invest in our children’s education, the Education Investment Tax Credit would expand financial resources for schools, teachers, and scholarship funds without raising taxes.

More information is available at www.investined.org.

Judi Nolan Powell is the chairman of the Niagara Catholic Jr Sr High School Board of Trustees and Gary P Hall is the president and CEO of WTS, Inc.