Don't just take our word for it. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal caught Millwood, whose campaign office does double-duty as the campaign headquarters for Kyle Boyd, who is running for the State House in York County, in the act:
State Rep. Bob Walker and Joey Millwood both say they oppose voucher programs that would give public money to parents to send their children to private schools.
Millwood is in favor of tax credits for parents who choose to send their children to private schools, while Walker is opposed to that as well as vouchers.
According to the State Department of Revenue's 2007 tax tables, here's how much you have to report in taxable income in order to receive the following tax credit amounts:
- $2,000 credit - $35,000 taxable income.
- $3,000 credit - $49,200 taxable income.
- $4,000 credit - $63,500 taxable income.
For those of you who don't know, taxable income is often far less than one's gross income. The amount of taxable income is derived from one's federal taxes, which allows thousands of dollars of standard deductions.
According to the IRS' 2007 1040-A form, a single mother of two would have to make at least $49,650 (after deducting $7,850 for Head of Household and $6,800 in exemptions for dependents) and a married family of three would need to earn $55,900 (after deducting $10,700 for married status and $10,200 in exemptions for dependents).
If you consider that health insurance and 401K plans are paid for out of pre-tax income, further reducing taxable income, these families may need to earn another $10K/year in gross income to qualify for even a minimal $2,000 tax credit. But from what we've seen, private school tuition (while often lower than the per-student costs of public schools) is still way more than $2K/year.
According to the S.C. Budget and Control Board, about 35% of South Carolina homes have a household income of more than $50,000 a year, and about 17% more than $75,000 a year. In fact, only six of 46 South Carolina counties have a median family income near or above $50,000 - Beaufort, Dorchester, Greenville, Lexington, Richland and York.
Tax credits only benefit those who are wealthy enough to afford to pay the tuition up front and earn enough to own enough in taxes to receive the credits. Many middle class families who pay private school tuition would receive little or none of the tax credit amounts. Even if they could afford to send their kids in the first place.
Worst off of all under these schemes are the poor. They don't have the disposable income needed to pay tuition up front. In the end, yon don't really change anything with this plan. But we think that's the way the tax credit advocates like it.
For that reason, we've always opposed credits and supported vouchers. So if you're an inner-city single mother making ten bucks an hour, hoping to get your kids into a school that is safe and decent, or even an average family residing in most counties (including Spartanburg, where Millwood resides), Millwood's advocacy of tuition tax credits has nothing to offer you.
If Millwood really cared about helping the poor of the state, he'd stop parroting the SCRG's country club agenda and back vouchers for those who need it, instead of more tax breaks for those who don't.