In relation to establishing the Education Investment Tax Credit

Published on January 5th, 2017

Memorandum of Support

The Education Tax Credit would generate increased funding for education by enhancing tax benefits for charitable donations to public schools and scholarships programs. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly supports these measures and urges enactment.

One of the greatest challenges facing policy makers and educators is the funding of our education system. School officials, whether in the public school sector or the religious and independent school sector, continuously grapple with rising costs, fluctuating state and federal aid, and an unstable economy. As a result of these ever-changing dynamics, valuable educational programs in public schools are often reduced, eliminated or never actually started and there are insufficient scholarships available for families seeking them.

In an effort to seek additional revenue, school districts have created and benefitted from their own fund-raising organizations that raise hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations to fund public school programs. Such charitable giving has been the only source of funding for scholarship organizations that enable children to attend religious and independent schools. Additional private sector support is desperately needed for both public schools and scholarship programs but the current tax deduction offers little incentive for increased charitable giving.

These measures enhance the current tax incentive by creating a tax credit to stimulate charitable donations.  Such credits would be available for donations made to public schools, school districts, and nonprofit organizations serving public schools; and for donations to non-profit scholarship organizations. These bills also would provide a tax credit directly to teachers for out-of-pocket purchases of classroom supplies and materials.

Enactment of these bills would enable school districts and scholarship organizations to generate increased charitable funding for education. For public schools, the additional private sector resources will help to begin, preserve and expand valuable programs such as pre-kindergarten, after-school programs, visual arts, music, and athletics. In addition, encouraging more charitable donations for student scholarships will enable low-income and middle-class families to continue to choose religious and independent schools for their children and thereby prevent further school closures in neighborhoods and communities throughout our state.

The New York State Catholic Conference urges enactment of these measures.

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