AZ Tax Credit Debate/Rant

So over at TucsonMama we’re having a little discussion about the AZ Tax Credits. For non-AZ folks just skip this whole thing. AZ folks please carry on reading.

My argument, tax credits suck the big one, but they’re what we have right now so give to those schools with the biggest need, not necessarily to your neighbourhood school.

Margaret’s argument: the public school tax credit is the cowardly legislature’s way to give us the back door to help the schools. She also argues for giving to her neighbourhood school which while in need has less need that other local schools.

I think she is too generous about the nature of the legislature. The majority of the legislature is not just cowardly, but mainly without heart or brains, and I don’t think they’re just trying to give us a a back door way to help. Ummm, the second part of her argument demonstrates exactly my point, why the tax credit sucks.

Those with the cash flow redirect taxes to their local school where kids stand a better chance of having enrichment outside and the students at the schools where parents don’t have cash flow and where need is greatest suffer again. SUCKS. So, if we have this sucky system lets at least stand up and target the schools where kids are in real desperate need.

The tax credit thing works this way. You can give $200 as an individual, $400 for a married couple to a public school of your choice before end of day on Friday and it will count toward your 2010 state tax liability, or increase your refund. Basically, you get to direct some of your taxes. You can do this online. If you need more information please let me know. There are all kinds of issues with this, but as Julia says in the comments:

1. Tax credits allows us to direct money where we believe it is needed most. So, if the will of the legislature is to cut education, this is one thing individuals can do to say in at least a small way “we think this is important”.
2. It’s been said that a system is only as strong as it’s lowest common demoninator. Meaning, no matter how good one school is (and if you are lucky to have your child there, you are lucky indeed), the overall system is measured by the weakest in the system. All should be supported, but if we can elevate the most poverty stricken schools, the broader community will benefit.

So really it isn’t even a donation, just a cash movement and tax direction thingee. If your cash flow allows it, please direct some of your local state taxes to a local public school in need. You have until the end of the day on Friday to do this. If you don’t know where to direct it and are up for a Tucson school I list the TUSD schools in greatest need on my TucsonMama post.

There is a similar tax credit you can use for qualified AZ charities. $200 for an individual, $400 for a married couple. We gave to the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona (big surprise there) and to the Educational Enrichment Foundation, but there are a host of worthy AZ charities including Planned Parenthood that qualify.

Finally, there is a private school tax credit. There is so much shit wrong with this credit I could barely bring myself to take part. I called some folks involved in early childhood education and they said that while problems abound with this credit, right now the state leg has done such a number on early childhood that using the credit toward preschools is a good way to go. In the end we donated to a local secular preschool that is based at a progressive church which stresses social justice.

Alright, my rant is over.



Filed under Acting Up, Diapers, Education, Politics

2 responses to “AZ Tax Credit Debate/Rant

  1. Thank you for keeping us engaged in this discussion.
    I want to know more about what we can do to change the f’d up nature of our state’s priorities/politics (yes, I vote, and yes, I can do more to be otherwise politically engaged).

  2. I’m trying to figure that out too. How can we change this? How can we make education and health a priority? I don’t know. I don’t know if the state leg is like an alcoholic who swears that their practice is alright for them and has to hit rock bottom to realize that it really is not. Going to keep thinking on that. I still think that small personal action can make a difference. I think about getting involved with groups like Arizona Education Network, but it is more daunting when it is by myself and I’m not sure I want to limit myself to one issue.

    I stumbled upon my notes this evening, made in haste one time after listening to something about how to affect change. I wanted to form a small group, a junto/a, that would come together once a month to discuss issues of interest and act on them. Folks might take turns in researching an issue and sharing, we could have speakers (I can think of a few on healthcare within our friends, and some on education too). Action might be as small as hand written letters or phone calls to representatives. Maybe our action is small, but multi-pronged, putting pressure on the leg, but also trying to change how our society views community, and understand the broader benefits of the proposed policies be they health, education or environmental etc. I think any such small group would have to meet monthly, AND beer and wine would have to be involved and discussion of agenda items agreed upon. Long time back I talked with Maggie, Julia, Laura B. and Ilana (I think) about this. I know it sounds terribly earnest, but I think things are bad enough that I’m willing to be known as terribly earnest if it means a little action is taken and some change happens. If folks are interested I’d be up for organizing. Email me. I have some ideas outlined as far as set up and would be willing to do some more research. I know there are groups out there I can join, but it is so much more appealing to hang out with friends and talk about this in a ‘safe’ environment where I don’t worry about looking like a complete idiot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s