New York Times Misses the Mark on Tax Credits for Education

By Russell, Jason | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 27, 2015 | Go to article overview

New York Times Misses the Mark on Tax Credits for Education


Russell, Jason, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


A school choice reform supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., would be a big boost to the wealthy, according to a New York Times editorial that calls the reform "misguided." The Times' opposition to the plan focuses on benefits for the wealthy, but it fails to acknowledge that students who need a better education will be the reform's biggest beneficiaries.

Cuomo's reform, called the Parental Choice in Education Act, would do two main things. It would allow families earning $60,000 or less to receive a tax credit of up to $500 for each student enrolled in a nonpublic school. It would also give individual or corporate donors to organizations that give tuition scholarships to nonpublic schools a 75 percent tax credit on donations up to $1 million. To a lesser extent, it would also help public school teachers by giving them a $200 tax credit for purchasing classroom supplies.

Most of the editorial board's criticism was over how the 75 percent tax credit would benefit the wealthy, with little focus on how the reform would harm anyone. That 140,000 more students would have the opportunity to attend a better school should trump any possible benefits for the wealthy.

There's no technical definition of the word "expensive," but The New York Times' definition must be especially loose. "Expensive" is how the editorial board described the bill, which would decrease tax revenue by roughly $150 million a year. That comes out to less than one-thousandth of New York's 2013 tax revenue. Even if all that money came directly at the cost of education spending alone, the amount would be less than one percent of New York state government's spending on education. …

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