Tuition Tax Credits – Local Congressman Supports Relief for Parents Who Choose Parochial Schools

Congressman Bob Turner announces the Tax and Education Assistance Act at a press conference outside St. Margaret’s School, Middle Village. Joining him were Msgr. Steven Aguggia, pastor; Dr. Philip Franco, principal, and parents.

Last week, Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09) introduced the Tax and Education Assistance for Children (TEACH) Act of 2012. The bill will provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 for families who send their children to private schools and eliminate “double taxation” on parents who send their children to non-public schools.
“Today, I am introducing H.R. 4075, the Tax and Education Assistance for Children (TEACH) Act of 2012,” Congressman Turner said at a press conference outside St. Margaret’s School, Middle Village, March 2.
“The TEACH Act will provide parents who send their children to non-public elementary and secondary schools a tax credit of up to $5,000 per year and effectively eliminate or minimize the effects of this ‘double taxation.’”
Turner was joined by Msgr. Steven J. Aguggia, pastor of St. Margaret’s and Dr. Philip Franco, principal, as well as parents of children from St. Margaret’s School.
“This is a great opportunity to offer much needed help to struggling families who very much want to offer the best possible education to their children,” Msgr. Aguggia said.
“This legislation, as proposed by Congressman Turner, is an excellent idea whose time has come,” added Dr. Franco. “Tax relief for those who choose to send their children to religious schools, and or any private school, is extremely helpful to families in these difficult economic times. Such a law would benefit both private schools and overburdened public schools. Most importantly, it will significantly increase a parent’s right to educate their child as they choose.”
Kelly Redmond, whose son is in the first grade at St. Margaret’s, believes this bill will help them provide their children with the same kind of Catholic education she received.
“Catholic education is very important to us, and St. Margaret is a long family tradition,” Redmond said. “This bill would be a tremendous help to the many parents like us who wish to send their children to a faith- based school.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn released a statement saying it is “grateful for the legislation that Congressman Turner is supporting.” Stefanie Gutierrez, spokesperson for the diocese, said, “we hope that our other representatives in Congress will also choose to support the TEACH Act and the many thousands of families that it will undoubtedly assist.”
The proposal also received praise from Rabbi Yaakov Lonner, executive director of Yeshiva of Central Queens, who said, “Non-public school parents should not be subject to ‘double taxation.’ By paying tuition to private schools, they are, in effect, saving the government millions of dollars. It is a tremendous burden for them to carry. No doubt, a tax break such as the congressman proposes is sorely needed.”
Congressman Turner, whose district includes neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, also picked up support from state legislators in Brooklyn.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) believes the bill will help parents provide a meaningful education for their children.
“A tax credit for families paying for private schooling is not only fair, but long overdue,” said Assemblyman Hikind.
“Rising budgets were always a reality, but their impacts during this economic downturn have been devastating. Private schools are suffering and parents are suffering. Regardless, parents should be allowed to provide the best and most meaningful education to their children – and to receive fair and appropriate relief from the government. I applaud Congressman Turner for recognizing how many parents will be aided by this bill and championing this important issue. This bill will benefit everyone,” he said.
State Senator Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) stated, “As the sponsor of a legislative effort that saw the institution of a child tax credit for public, private and parochial school students in New York State, I commend Congressman Bob Turner for introducing this legislation. Like myself, Congressman Turner understands that the rising costs of education are taxing the budget of New York families.  We must do something to help offset expenses so that our children have every opportunity to get the best education possible.”
Donna Cann of Marine Park hopes the TEACH Act will help parents like herself continue to provide her children with a religious education.
“This would be great for somebody like me,” Cann said. “I pay a grammar school tuition and high school tuition. I also send my daughter to a private college. I wanted the religious aspect in my children’s education. I wanted them to get that sense of community, sense of family, and the sense of being part of something bigger than themselves. I did not want them just being a number in a very large public school. The smaller classes are geared to them. There are so many sacrifices I have to make to make sure their tuitions are taken care of.”
There are more than 75 schools within the Ninth New York District that Congressman Turner represents that would qualify as elementary or secondary schools under the bill