Think Tank year-end show: Santa Claus tax policy

Dec 20, 2014, 5:11 AM | Updated: 5:14 am

This week’s show presents a rare opportunity. We start out by presenting a problem, an inequity in the tax code. OK, nothing new there. But this week the problem we present is one that can be partially rectified by individual citizens acting on their own.

Our tax code is riddled with “credits” that reduce taxes for some while increasing the burden on the rest of us. There are dozens of these. Most sound reasonable enough. One particularly invidious tax credit is one that that seems good in theory is the extracurricular school tax credit. A couple may donate up to $400 to fund their kid’s class trip and get every penny back with a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their state income tax. What could be wrong with that?

The inequity is that it permits rich parents to fund their own kids’ extracurricular school trips with tax dollars while leaving parents who do not have the $400 cash or a $400 state tax liability to make a such a donation out in the cold. Almost ALL of these tax credits go to schools in wealthier neighborhoods. Poor kids’ schools get almost nothing.

The Superintendant of the Children First Academy is Jerry Lewis. He joins the show to talk about his two schools which serve mostly homeless and higher needs kids. Think they are adequately funded? I called Jerry the night before the show to confirm his attendance. He was working with a crew of volunteers to clean up one of his schools. When is the last time your school’s superintendant did custodial duties?

Jerry joins the show and tells us about some of the obstacles his kids are up against. We then discuss how individuals can partially resolve the inequity by making that $400 donation (for couples; $200 for individuals) to one of the more needy schools in the state—ones that receive almost no donations from parents who do not have that kind of spare cash. You get to play Santa Claus, and it likely will not cost you a cent.

(NOTE: two other similar credits are available: one for foster care organizations and the other for a wider range of charitable organizations. Elegible organizations are listed on the Arizona Department of Revenue’s website. And you can make the $400 [$200 for single taxpayers] donation to EACH of these. Of course, you should consult your tax advisor for verification; we do not give actual tax advice.)

Merry Christmas!

The Think Tank

Attorney General Kris Mayes joined fight against Idaho's abortion travel ban...

Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Think Tank talks law with Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has been in office less than four weeks and has hit the ground running. But she stops long enough to talk on this week's Think Tank.

10 months ago

(Library of Congress Photo)...

Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Think Tank tells you everything you need to know about polling

Polls: To believe or not to believe? Polling’s history provides some clues. This week's Think Tank visits the topic.

11 months ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Crystal ball: Think Tank’s annual political predictions show for 2023

Panelists will offer their insights into what will happen in 2023 in both Arizona and in the country at large.

11 months ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Drum roll, please: Think Tank gives out 2022 political awards for Arizona, nation

Retired journalists Steve Goldstein and Steve Krafft and political operative Chuck Coughlin join the Think Tank for an irreverent discussion of 2022 politics.

11 months ago


Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

What’s in the future for the Republican Party after the 2022 election?

Can traditional conservative business/growth Republicans retake the GOP from the MAGA faction? That's this week's Think Tank topic.

12 months ago

(Facebook Photo; Screenshot/Maricopa County)...

Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Think Tank guests Stephen Richer, Adrian Fontes explain Arizona’s election process

Think Tank guests this week Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Secretary of State-elect Adrian Fontes discuss the running of Arizona’s elections.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Think Tank year-end show: Santa Claus tax policy