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.