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New York State Catholics begin campaign for school tax credits

.- Dioceses in New York State have launched a massive postcard campaign in favor of tax credits for religious- and private-school education.

The New York State Catholic Conference has printed 1.5 million postcards in support of the proposal that would also provide tax credits for families with children in public schools and for all public- and private-school teachers to offset classroom expenses, reported the Associated Press.

The postcards have been distributed to churches in seven of the state's eight dioceses. The Diocese of Brooklyn ran a similar campaign last year, mailing 90,000 postcards.

The current postcards are directed to Gov. George Pataki, state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. They read: "I strongly support education tax credits as a way to improve public, independent and religious schools and to help ALL parents offset the cost of educating their students."

The tax credit would include up to $3,000 a year for a family with two or more children in school or in home school. Credits would decrease as the household income increases above $40,000. The tax credit would be used against a family's cost for books and other classroom supplies or to compensate for tuition at private, religious or nonreligious schools.

According to the AP, the proposal would also provide public- and private-school teachers a tax credit of $250 to $500 a year for out-of-pocket classroom supplies.

State Sen. Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican and the bill's co-sponsor, said the measure would provide more funds directly to schools because families and teachers could spend more of their own money on supplies, computer software and other items if they can recover some of the cost.

Pataki has said he would consider tax credits for families sending children to nonpublic schools.

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