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It's Tax (Credit) Season

on Fri, 04/21/2017 - 05:16

It seems like every legislative season the Colorado State Senate puts forth another attempt to pass Income Tax Credits for Non-public Schools (SB17-39). Tax credits are back door vouchers that defund and threaten the very existence of a fair, appropriate and equitable public education system that meets the needs of all children.

This program would lead us back to the days of segregated schools by diverting public monies to private institutions that may discriminate on the basis of socioeconomic status, religion, academic ability, athletic skill, special education needs, as well as sexual orientation. There is no credible evidence that tax credits actually provide any educational benefit. Tax credits, like vouchers, lack accountability, are financially flawed and are by their very nature discriminatory. We ask that you email or call the members of the House Education Committee prior to their committee meeting on Monday, April 24th when SB17-39 will be heard. 

Here is some suggested text:

I urge you to vote against SB 17-39, Income Tax Credits for Non-public Schools.

Education is a basic right. Tax credits are back door vouchers that defund and threaten the very existence of a fair, appropriate and equitable public education system that meets the needs of all children. Tax credits lack accountability, are financially flawed and are by their very nature discriminatory.

We hold public schools in Colorado to strict standards because they receive taxpayer funding. We demand that all public schools be held accountable for teaching and learning, have high standards and produce rigorous programs. Private schools would not be required to follow state academic standards, don’t have to hire qualified teachers and don’t have to prove to the state that they are using public money wisely.

Tax credits ignore economies of scale. The state will likely not see a savings from students leaving their public charter or community schools. When one student leaves a classroom, the lights are still on, a teacher is still teaching and savings are not realized. Less revenue for the remaining students in the class room equates to loss of programming which can greatly impact the education of students. The tax credit program thereby reduces and harms choice--the choice of a high quality public education.  A choice, research shows, the vast majority of parents make for their children. 

This tax-credit/voucher program would lead to socioeconomic segregation and discrimination. The roughly $3,500 given for tuition does not come close to covering private school tuition. The program diverts public monies to private institutions that may discriminate on the basis of socioeconomic status, religion, academic ability, athletic skill, special education needs, as well as sexual orientation.

Research from credible academic sources with 25 years of data have all concluded that tax credits/vouchers do NOT provide any educational benefit.

Please vote no on SB 17-39 and protect high quality public education in Colorado.

And here are the emails and phone numbers of the House Education Committee:

BrittanyPettersenbrittany.pettersen.house@state.co.us303-866-2939 Chair
JanetBucknerjanet.buckner.house@state.co.us303-866-2944Vice-Chair
JeffBridgesjeff.bridges.house@state.co.us303-866-2921Member
JustinEverettjustin.everett.house@state.co.us303-866-2927Member
TonyExumtony.exum.house@state.co.us303-866-3069Member
AlecGarnettalec.garnett.house@state.co.us303-866-2911Member
PeteLeepete.lee.house@state.co.us303-866-2932Member
TimothyLeonardtim.leonard.house@state.co.us303-866-2582Member
PaulLundeenpaul.lundeen.house@state.co.us303-866-2924Member
BarbaraMcLachlanbarbara.mclachlan.house@state.co.us303-866-2914Member
ClariceNavarroclarice.navarro.house@state.co.us303-866-2905Member
LangSiaslang.sias.house@state.co.us303-866-2962Member
JamesWilsonrepresentativewilson@gmail.com303-866-2747Member