Western New York lawmakers are calling for passage of the Invest in Education tax credit.
Senator Mark Grisanti, Senator Patrick Gallivan, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and Assemblyman Michael Kearns are among those asking for Governor Cuomo to approve the legislation as part of the 2014-2015 state budget.
If passed, the bill would encourage people and businesses to donate to public schools as well as private and non-profit scholarship organizations by granting donors a credit on their state income and corporate tax returns. It will also give teachers a tax credit when they spend up to $75 of their own money on school supplies.
“It actually has a board spectrum as to who it’s going to help. Public schools, private schools, charter schools, it actually helps people in home schooling,” said Senator Grisanti.
Recently, Bishop Richard Malone called on legislators to pass the bill, which he says may have prevented ten local Catholic elementary schools from closing.
Assemblyman Schimminger says he agrees with Bishop Malone.
“It simply changes something that we have in law right now, which is that if you make a donation to a non-profit entity you get a deduction. This bill changes it from a deduction to a tax credit, which is a dollar for dollar reduction in your taxes,” said Schimminger.
The bill passed in the Senate in 2011-2012. This time around, lawmakers are looking for stronger support in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan says he believes New York City will benefit more from the bill’s passage.
“There’s nothing in this bill that talks about educating people of low-income. There’s no income qualification on there. So, I really question if this bill was put into law if it would have any impact on western New York,” said Ryan.
Ryan says the legislation would need more tweaking before he supports it. S Corporations will be exempt from the "Education Investment Tax Credit." The oppositions concerns include the $300 million in funding needed to pay for the tax credit.
Senator Mark Grisanti says funding for the tax credit could come from either the state’s general fund, various reform initiatives, or the Billion to Buffalo.