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O'Malley backs tax credit to help private schools

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for O'Malley recent mug.jpgMaryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) threw his support Wednesday behind a tax credit designed to help Catholic and other private schools that are experiencing enrollment declines and recent closures.

"I believe the bill is crucial if we are to stem the tide of private school closures in the state," O'Malley said in a letter to the chairman of the Senate budget committee, which is considering a bill that includes the credit. "These closures represent a loss of educational diversity and opportunity for our students and will ultimately increase costs and enrollment pressures on our public school systems."

The bill, sponsored by Sen. James E. DeGrange Sr.(D-Anne Arundel) and strongly supported by the Maryland Catholic Conference, would create an income tax credit for 75 percent of a contribution made to a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships in eligible private schools. The credit would take effect in the 2011 tax year.

Similar programs exist in several other states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Florida.

Bills seeking to establish the credit in Maryland have died in recent years, in part because of concerns about the potential expense. Legislative analysts say the program could cost Maryland up to $50 million a year if it is similar to those in other states. Advocates for the Maryland bill in have suggested a more modest figure and note that it does not require any money to be spent.

O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said it is too early to say how much O'Malley would include in any upcoming budgets to cover the cost of the credit.

By John Wagner  |  March 3, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Governor , John Wagner  
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The spendaholic Governor strikes again - when he has already created $8 billion in budget deficits - what's another $50 million?

Posted by: h20andoil | March 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The reason catholic schools are facing declining enrollment is because of their backwards anti-envolution fake science. Any parent who wants their child indoctrinated with creationism should be charged with child abuse and catholic schools in general should be left alone to fail on their own. I do not one one cent of the taxes i pay to cover the costs for children to be brainwashed into believing the teachings of any cult, and to replace rational science with religious dogma.

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 3, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Any monies should be directed to the public school system in getting some decent teachers here in Maryland.

Posted by: tobmore | March 3, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The State of MD would have no deficit if the MD State Troopers would give out tickets to the HOV violators on Rt. 50. Every morning and every night I see 8 cars out of 10 driving in those HOV lanes have only one person in them. Either start fining the violators or get rid of the HOV lane. Have a big fine like the State of VA does. I have only seen one MD state trooper have someone pulled over and given the violator a ticket in all the years that the HOV lane was put in.

Posted by: Dee15 | March 3, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Every child in a non-public school saves taxpayers money. We should encourage families to send their children to these schools any way possible. We have "portable classrooms" and schools that need to be expanded with limited dollars to do so. If we are spending $15,000 or more to educate each child in the public school system, we will be saving a whole lot more of the taxpayers' money if this tax credit works than its potential cost.

To MarilynManson - Catholic schools teach evolution (and spelling).

Posted by: go_pgh | March 3, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

And the teacher's unions will say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?" Too funny.

Posted by: member8 | March 3, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

MarilynManson: Sorry, but Catholic schools don't teach creationism as science, although the Creation story IS taught in religion class. But in science, they definitely teach biology - and that includes Darwin, natural selection, and evolution. You must have them confused with Protestant fundamentalist schools.

And, as go_pgh points out, all those private schools save public schools lots of money, and allow them to spread the same amount of tax money amongst fewer kids. If all the private-school kids transfer to public school, tax revenue will remain the same, but will have to be used to educate a lot more kids. The reality is, it's the private-school families that have to pay twice, since they pay for public schools AND private schools. In this economy, lots of families can no longer afford to do that. It's economics, and has nothing to do with science or any other academic field.

Oh, and if public schools are doing such a great job teaching science, how come Obama says we need to desperately reform science and math instruction?

Posted by: LadybugLa | March 7, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

MarilynManson: By the way, thanks for respecting everyone's freedom of religion (child abuse? really?). Our founding fathers would be so proud.

Posted by: LadybugLa | March 7, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

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