Southern Brooklyn

Video: Questions Remain About Turner’s TEACH Act

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At this week’s meeting of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association, attendees raised several questions about Congressman Bob Turner’s latest legislation: the TEACH Act, which offers families of private and religious school students a $5,000 tax break towards tuition.

Turner’s rep at the meeting, Mike Tracey, had trouble answering those questions.

To be fair, the representatives for legislators are not generally expected to know specifics about the bills and positions put forward by their bosses. They’re meant to be a conduit for channeling news from the legislator to local community groups, and forwarding questions and concerns back up the chain. Tracey, lest it be perceived that we’re attacking him, has always performed his job efficiently and with professionalism.

But we still thought the above video was interesting, as it shows concerns from residents who appear to be critical to the bill. One compared the break to the controversial school voucher system, another asked where the funds would come from, and a third pointed out that under the logic of this tax break, taxpayers with no children also deserve to pay less.

And while Tracey responded to the questions with “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” we decided to go higher up the chain and put the same questions to Bob Capano, Turner’s district director.

The questions and their answers are as follows:

If you don’t use a public school, you get a $5,000 tax credit? 

This will be a $5,000 tax credit per family, per year. If families send their children to a non-public school they would qualify for a tax credit up to $5,000 per family. Taxpayers filing a joint return or filing as an unmarried individual will receive a $5,000 tax credit. Taxpayers who are married filing a separate return will receive a $2,500 tax credit.

How does the congressman plan to make up for the lost revenue from the tax credits?

We will be working on the funding mechanisms as this bill and the budget process moves forward.

If a person doesn’t have children and so doesn’t cause a burden on the tax system, shouldn’t they be entitled to the tax credit?

The goal of this bill is to provide economic relief to parents who choose  to send their children to private or parochial schools.

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