by Sr. Joanne Callahan, OSU

 Third in a series.

 Coordinated by the Diocesan Public Policy Advisory Committee, this is the third in a series of articles about the five issues that will focus our public policy efforts at the Catholics at the Capitol day on March 19. Each summary summarizes how the issue impacts, specifically, life and ministry in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. To read the issue brief about Preserving Catholic Schools from the New York State Catholic Conference, click here.

The Education Investment Tax Credit Legislation (A.1826 – Assem. Cusick, et. al. S.4099 – Sens. Golden, Felder, et. al.) proposal needs to be included in this year’s adopted state budget!

 It’s important that people understand that this legislation would benefit scholarship programs, such as our Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation, which has been able to provide $13M to over 11,000 qualifying students; and public schools and public school districts.  Please read over the information below and go to www.nyscatholic.org and send emails to your representatives to ask them to make sure this is agreed upon during the budget process so ALL students and teachers in NYS can benefit.

  • What it Does:  The proposed New York State legislation for an Education Investment 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 (for a maximum of 75 percent of tax liability).
  • Scholarship Opportunities:   This legislation would encourage charitable donations to non-profit organizations that provide scholarships for students to attend a non-public school (including a religious school) or a non-resident public school that best meets their needs (up to half the available credits).
  • Public Education Benefits:  The bill also would encourage charitable donations to individual public schools, school districts, and non-profit community-based organizations that operate pre-kindergarten programs, provide visual arts, music, tutoring, college and career readiness, or other instruction during or after-school (up to half the available credits); and, fund teacher-proposed projects and provide a $100.00 tax credit for teachers and other instructional personnel for the purchase of classroom supplies and materials.
  • Bill Status & Sponsorship: In 2012, the State Senate passed education investment tax legislation by a bipartisan vote of 55-to-4.  This year, more than two-thirds of the members of the State Assembly are co-sponsoring the bill.
  • Organizations in Support: This legislation is supported by numerous organizations which represent thousands of New Yorkers, including, but not limited to,  the NYS Catholic Conference, the UJA-Federation, Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations, Agudath Israel, DonorsChoose.org, Buffalo ReformED, Federation of Catholic Teachers, NYS Troopers PBA, NYC Firefighters and Fire Officers, NYC PBA, NYS Court Officers and other public, religious and labor organizations.
  • The Needs: This legislation is vital for families to provide the education they need for their children, particularly low-income and middle class families who otherwise cannot access or afford quality schooling for their children.  Absent this access to Catholic, Jewish and other schools places significant added costs on our public schools.   This legislation also would enable public schools to raise additional philanthropic funding for various needs, including programming provided by community groups and other non-profit entities, such as pre-k, after-school, college and career readiness, athletics, arts, music and other areas of need.

Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for them. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.

­United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,

 Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium

 

Sister Joanne Callahan, OSU, M.S., P.D., is the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Rockville Centre and is a member of the Diocesan Public Policy Advisory Committee.For more information about Catholic schools in our diocese visit drvcschools.org. To learn more about this issue, visit investined.org.

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