TESTIMONY TO THE SENATE BUDGET AND TAXATION COMMITTEE
SB 633 Maryland Education Credit
BY: Susan Cochran, President
DATE: February 26, 2014
The League of Women Voters of Maryland strongly opposes SB 633 Maryland Education Credit. This bill would provide for an income tax credit to business entities that make contributions to student assistance organizations that provide aid to students in nonpublic or public schools from prekindergarten through secondary school. The bill requires the Department of Business and Economic Development to administer the tax credit and authorizes the governor to include in his budget an annual appropriation to a Maryland Education Tax Credit Reserve Fund not to exceed $15 million.
The League of Women Voters has opposed public funding for vouchers or other aid for private and parochial schools, and considers this bill another form of state aid for nonpublic education. The state’s primary responsibility is to support public school students who must be served regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion age, physical and academic ability and sexual orientation.
Furthermore, income tax credits are tax expenditures that take money out of state revenues that are sorely needed for public schools and other state services. Federal revenues for education are decreasing, and school districts are struggling to meet rising costs. We also need to support funding for the required study to re-analyze the adequacy of our current funding formulas for education.
In addition, there is a cost in staff time to administer such a tax credit program, whether in the Maryland State Department of Education (which seems more appropriate) or the Department of Business and Economic Development as required in SB 633.
We urge the committee to give an unfavorable report to SB 633.
Identical testimony was submitted to the House Ways & Means Committee for its hearing on HB 1262 (same title) on March 7, 2014.