12/18/2013 9:54:00 AM Editorial Bond supporters: put money where vote was
It is time to put your money into action - or where your mouth is. The general election divided our communities along the lines of those who favored school district bonds and budget overrides.
Many people said they were in favor, wanting to help the district schools where the state legislature no longer does. Enough people said "no" to defeat the measures locally, however. The naysayers spoke clearly that they, for example, want more accountability for how the money is spent before they give more money to the schools.
Imagine a way to help schools or nonprofits with a donation, earmarking it for the extracurricular activity you choose, and it comes directly off your tax liability. That is the Arizona Tax Credit system.
These are the "gifts" people can give to a long list of schools and organizations, whereby the money stays local and you can designate what they use it for. Unfortunately, tax credits cannot be used for items termed "capital," such as building repairs, nor can they go directly into the classroom.
The system was designed to ease the pressure on districts' maintenance and operations budgets. And, while those funds have shrunk too, tax credits can support the extras so that the school districts can focus on needs.
Not a big deal? Consider that Humboldt Unified School District last year accepted $250,000 in tax credits, Chino Valley saw $29,000, and Prescott Unified brought in more than $1.7 million.
All tax credits, all for students, all donations, and without them measurable cuts would have been necessary. And - the best part - those who wrote those checks got to reduce their tax obligation to the state, and they got to know where their tax monies were going. Read the stories in today's Tribune for details and ideas on how this works, as well as the guest column on this page.
If you don't believe in property taxes for the bonds and overrides, we believe this painless way of helping will make sense.