April 26, 2007


Take a Bite of Education (TIMOTHY MULHEARN, April 26, 2007, NY Sun)

Two New York legislators have introduced a bill that can help all New York students, whether they attend public or nonpublic schools. With the Educational Tax Incentives Act, Senator Serphin Maltese of Queens and Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn attempt to go one better than Governor Spitzer, who did not succeed in passing his tuition tax deduction proposal, which would have benefited nonpublic school students.

This measure, which they have jointly promoted for several years, would allow principals as well as school boards to solicit donations from individuals and corporations. Because of its potential to help all New York State, a total of 41 legislators, Democrats and Republicans representing city districts as well as suburban and rural regions, have signed on as co-sponsors to the 2007 version. While the legislation would allow some help for nonpublic school children, public education would be its primary beneficiary.

Donors to schools could claim a credit on their state income tax returns. This credit would be for 50% of the donation, with a $140 cap for personal tax returns and a $4,000 cap for taxpayers who file a corporate franchise tax return, as well as for those who have S corporations, limited liability partnerships, and other such business arrangements.

The significance of these donations is that all the money thus raised would come without an increase in the school tax rate. These dollar amounts were calculated to bring the first-year cost of the bill within the $25 million figure proposed by Governor Spitzer for helping parents of nonpublic school students.

Since the credit is for only half of the amount donated, this measure has the potential to raise $50 million to support education. Based on the experience of Arizona, where a similar law has been in effect for several years and about 80% of first-year donations went to public education, analysts have projected that in New York about $40 million would go to support public schools in the first year. In other words, public education would gain $15 million more than the state would lose. New York's public schools would benefit even more in subsequent years, as the amounts donated are expected to increase.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2007 12:14 PM

These dollar amounts were calculated to ... helping parents of nonpublic school students.

Are nonpublic schools private schools, parochial schools?

Does it mean the beginning of the end of teachers union's strangle hold on the students' future?

Posted by: ic at April 26, 2007 1:11 PM

This is worth next to nothing. Any one who knows anything about school district operations knows that the every dime of donations will have absolutely no effect on the waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

They will simply spend more. Any law like this needs to force the district to drop the next property tax 90 cents on the dollar, or some such mandate.

If you give money to a school district, you aren't giving it to "public education", you are giving it to an "education bureaucracy."


Posted by: Bruno at April 26, 2007 3:10 PM

Who cares what they do with the money if it means they don't raise school taxes?

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2007 4:08 PM