Someone has made off with our money again. Is there no end to the need to screw taxpayers and children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Most people say that there are always two sides to every story. This time there are two faces (see Batman).
The legislature and the Governor of Pennsylvania have been trying to shovel money to the many private and religious schools for many years. It is especially true of the Catholic schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Commonwealth has actually gone to court over this issue and has lost. Now they have found a great way to shovel truckloads of dough into the private schools and religious schools and charter and cyber schools, but pretending that they are helping public schools.
They call this initiative, Choice, and they are looney about it. Actually the choice is for privateers in education, large companies in Pennsylvania and private and parochial schools. They believe that parents of students will vote with their feet and leave for these other entities.
Here is the way the new EITC 2.0 works. In 2001 a law was passed that allowed private companies to give donations to 501c3’s around the Commonwealth to distribute millions of dollars to private schools to use to tutor students among other things. Actually, some public schools got some of that money. This dough was than written off as a tax credit for the companies. Here’s the new one. You can donate as much as $450,000 and get a 90% state tax break. The money is doled out to the foundations that have been established and they can give out the new money, $50 mil in clumps of $8,500 for a regular education student and $15,000 for a special ed. youngsters.
Now let’s see who is eligible for these “Scholarships ( Vouchers Lite or Supervoucheers). You have to be in a family with earnings of 185% of the poverty level. That would be about $70,000 plus an additional $12,000 for each dependent above that family of four. You must also live in a “failing school” of which there are 412 in the state. Where could you go? Students who are already in private and parochial schools are eligible. Students in regular public schools who want to transfer (because they are in one of the failing schools) will have a hard time going anywhere. Receiving schools do not have to take you. There enough excuses in the law for not taking a student that you could drive a large truck through.
So, once again, where could you go? How about back to your failing school? Now if you are a company that can afford to donate $450,000 (and $750,000) next year, you are in hog heaven. Besides the 90% off the top of your state tax, you may deduct contributions on your federal income tax. That seems like a great idea. Not sure if the IRS is aware of this stuff yet.
Sounds like you are being made-off with to the tune of $50,000,000 and moneyfor the original program EITC 1.0 ( Education Investment Tax Credit). How much more can we have our state government steal from us? You figure it out.



  1. Gosh, why couldn’t the companies just give the money to their local district to cover the shortfalls that are some of the causes for the problems? Guess they never thought of it!

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