CAUTION – Major changes to the tax credit program starting July 1, 2016
DONOR UPDATE – LET CORPORATIONS TAKE THE TAX CREDIT RISK: We need to find a way to get tax credit donations for this program, $10 million in total. What our opposition (the lobbyist & “paid” advocates) are just starting to figure out is that there are substantial legal and constitutional issues with this new program language. This is NOT the same donor tax credit from the past 3 years. DOR seems to be intent on “fooling” our current donors 500 -1,000 supporters donating anywhere from $500 to $1 million + (average is probably about $15,000 – $20,000) into just donating again – same as last year. That is not real honest … and DOR has refused to provide us any assurances donors will be protected (because they can’t). Our safest suggestion at this point is to have DOR “convince” SC Corporations to donate. Why should 1,000 +/- individual donors take the risk or be “pressured” by DOR if big corporations and their army of tax attorneys won’t sign off on the legality of the tax credit. The big taxpaying corporations are DOR’s friends – and DOR knows which ones pay a lot of income and bank taxes. We and our donors all felt very confident in the independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit model … why not, it has been around for 20 years, legally tested and approved all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and billions & billions of tax credits have been approved via this model in 20 +/- states all across America. Not a single dime as far as we can find has ever gone through a government / DOR run educational tax credit fund. Our donors care about the cause and YOU, and some will donate anyhow – even with the risk – they care and can afford to lose the money … but let DOR & Corporations take the risk in year #1 of this “new” and untested tax credit. See 06/24/2016 DONOR UPDATE posted on Facebook – Click HERE.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES?: Some of your really like to get detailed and “in the weeds” 😉 Well, there are a lot of legal issues – this government money to independent or religious schools has been going on seemingly forever and certainly since school desegregation in the 1960’s. (See landmark Lemon v. Kurtzman 403 US 602 (1971) related to religious schools in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.) But the problem we have here in SC with this new governmental control and elimination of theindependent 501(c)(3) nonprofits COMPLETELY changes the legal issues associated with taxpayer rights to sue and the issues of separation of church and state … and funding going to religious schools. (See Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn 563 US 125 (2011) & Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002) – two landmark “school choice” U.S. Supreme Court cases that went in our favor by the slimmest 5 to 4 margin). The government entanglements of a DOR managed “fund” and SC Legislators appointing the “board” changes everything – and not for the better. Awarding varying dollar amounts based on the school “level” selected … and not just awarding a specific grant dollar amount to a child – and letting “private choice” freely occur and the parents select whatever school they want is problematic. We could try to ignore or bury these concerns … just don’t talk about it … but that won’t work as anti-school choice organizations already know all this and it is only a matter of time before legal action commences here in SC. Why would the anti-school choice groups possibly delay suing? Well, why should they get involved when the SC pro-school choice lobbyist & “paid” advocates here in SC are already doing all they can to screw this up … and what better than to let the DOR government system get ingrained for a few years and then come in and EASILY kill it in the courts.
DOR webpage: https://dor.sc.gov/exceptional-sc
ECENC Fund website: http://exceptionalsc.org/donors/