The proposed Education Tax Credit would benefit children, especially from low-income and working-class families, by increasing resources for public school programming and expanding PK-12 scholarships for students to attend private and non-resident public schools. This would be accomplished by encouraging additional charitable donations to education, specifically to public schools and districts, a nonprofit educational organization working with public schools or districts, or nonprofit scholarship funds which provide scholarships at least three private schools.

Increasing the Tax Incentive = Increased Charitable Support

The legislation would change New York State tax law to encourage additional charitable donations by turning the existing law’s provision from a tax deduction to a tax credit for individuals and businesses.

Expanded Resources to Benefit Children

Non-profit organizations that serve children in public schools, for example, by operating pre-k or after-school programs, or providing arts, music, tutoring or other educational activities, require revenue sources in various forms, including foundation grants, government or district contracts, and charitable donations. The Education Tax Credit would substantially increase the ability of these organizations to raise charitable funds and expand their educational reach in the communities they serve.

Similarly, a non-profit scholarship fund would be able to award more scholarships in greater amounts for children to remain, or enroll in private schools, thus providing equal access to educational options more readily obtained by children from upper-income and wealthy households.

Education Tax Credit:  the Best Approach

The proposed Education Tax Credit is the most effective and realistic approach to provide equal educational access to greater numbers of children from low-income and working-class families. By expanding the availability of K-12 scholarships, more children will have more quality educational options than are available currently. Further, scholarship awards under this proposal can be as high as the tuition charged by a non-public school, or a non-resident public school.

Other legislative proposals, for example, offer up to a $500 tuition tax credit for every family paying non-public school tuition exceeding $1,000 annually. This may help, but is unlikely to have a sufficient impact on enough children in need; that is, this amount is inadequate to provide students from low-income households’ equal access to private, including parochial, schools.