Senate Bill 4099: Tax Credit for Certain Educational Expenses

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Last Updated: March 5, 2014
Senate Bill 4099: Tax Credit for Certain Educational Expenses
Sponsors:
Senator Golden. Co-Sponsors- Senators Felder, Addabbo, Avella, Bonacic, Dilan, Gallivan, Grisanti, Hassell-Thompson, Latimer, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, and Savino
Summary:

Senate Bill 4099 establishes an "Educational Investment Act" and tax credit for certain educational expenses.

The bill would permit a parent teaching their children at home to claim a "home-based instructional materials" credit. This credit would be applied against tax the parent owed. The credit would be for the lower amount of either $100 or 100% of the purchases made by a non-public home-based educational program. Under Senate Bill 4099, the instructional materials that could be claimed would have to be approved for used by the Department of Education or Board of Regents for use in the non-public home-based educational program.

Senate Bill 4099 was originally the same as Assembly Bill 1826. However, AB 1826 has been significantly changed and no longer contains and educational tax credit for home-based instructional materials.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA supports the general idea behind Senate Bill 4099 as it offers a tax credit for home-based instructional materials. However, we are concerned that the bill requires that the instructional materials to be "approved" by the Department of Education or by the Board of Regents in order to be eligible for the tax credit. While we suspect this would not require the Department or Board to approve each individual parents materials, this requirement is still too restrictive and unwieldy. Instead, we would support changing this language to simply state textbooks or curriculum materials used in a home instruction program that is in compliance with New York law.

Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

03/08/2013 Referred to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations
06/04/2013 Amend and Recommit to Investigations and Government Operations
06/04/2013 Print Number 4099A
01/08/2014 Referred to Investigations and Government Operations

Background:

Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system while they privately educate their own children. This "double taxation" is unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the tax burden of public schools they do not use themselves, a significant number of homeschool leaders are concerned about any effort to get benefits from the government. Most homeschool leaders agree that vouchers (direct payments from the government to private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the controls and loss of freedom that comes with the money.

As an alternative, HSLDA recommends another vehicle: educational tax credits. Parents and individuals who provide for a child’s education should be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would otherwise have been used to fund public education. This goal could be accomplished through a tax credit.

Educational tax credit legislation can typically be divided into two categories: tax credits for individuals or corporations who contribute to a non-profit scholarship fund and tax credits reimbursing parents for educational expenses incurred for their children. Arizona passed an educational tax credit law which falls into the first category while Minnesota and Illinois passed a tax credit falling into the second category.

Education tax credits offer several benefits:

• Educational tax credits will give parents true choice in education. This tax credit will help reduce the “double tax burden” on parents who choose private or home education.
• Education tax credits will benefit public schools. By encouraging students to attend private schools or homeschools, the tuition tax credit will reduce overcrowded public school class sizes and the student-to-teacher ratio, making more teachers available to public school students.
• Education tax credits will benefit low-income families. Most educational tax credit proposals provide a credit for businesses and private individuals who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship fund, which are usually dedicated to helping low-income families. This type of credit provides an incentive to help give low-income families true choice in their children’s education.

For more information on educational tax credits, see our memorandum.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History