The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 1531 that proposes deep cuts to Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Low-income students who rely on the EITC scholarships to attend non-public schools will be short-changed $24.75 million. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) is urging concerned citizens to take action by contacting state legislators.
Increases in the basic education subsidy are still in consideration. Is Pennsylvania really going to deny one group of students the education that is best for them to benefit another group of students? The time has come to put significant pressure on our state legislators to help them understand how unfair and devastating these cuts will be to Catholic school students in their districts.
The drastic cuts to EITC will likely force parents to remove their children from the schools they are attending right now and enroll them in a public school, at an even greater cost to taxpayers. Parents of nonpublic school students understand that tough economic times require us to make the most of limited resources. Families sacrifice a lot to send their kids to the school they think will provide the best environment and best education. Cutting the EITC creates a significant hardship for parents just when they need the help the most.
The EITC is a successful and popular program. It is not just a tax credit incentive for an already profitable company to do business in Pennsylvania. EITC is a scholarship program to help Pennsylvania’s neediest children that happens to be funded by tax credits. It is unfair to compare the education of Pennsylvania’s nonpublic schoolchildren to short-term jobs created by the Film Tax Credit or other programs.
Visit, call, fax, write or your state legislators. Tell them you agree that supporting a child’s education now is an investment in tomorrow’s economy; but nonpublic school students are an important part of our future, too. EITC’s return on investment is immeasurable. When making tough budget decisions the last thing we should cut is a smart investment. Let them know that their “no” vote on any proposal that drastically cuts EITC is a vote in favor of our future on behalf of Catholic school students in your diocese and statewide.
See the Pennsylvania Catholic Advocacy Network page for contact information.