'Tax credit' piece not researched

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

On Jan. 3, you published a guest editorial entitled "Tax credits needed to improve schools" by Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation.   The author’s main point seems to have been that if donations to private schools for the benefit of needy children were tax deductible the New Mexico educational system would be improved. He appears to not be conversant with existing tax laws.   Donations to worthy causes, such as tuition assistance for needy children, are already tax-deductible, at least when given to nonprofit organizations.  I must admit that I haven't done a survey, but I bet that all, or nearly all, private schools have such a system in place.  I know that Harvard University does. My suspicion is that Mr. Gessing wants tuition payments for one’s own children to be tax-deductible.  This is the proverbial “slippery slope,” since the tuition is a payment for services rendered.  If such tuition is tax deductible, why not give the same benefit for payments to one's plumber or grocery store? Out of curiosity, I went to the foundation's website, www.riograndefoundation.org, and could not find any evidence that it is a charitable organization.  It is not listed in the Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, rating system for charities.  This suggests an organization that is too partisan to be tax-exempt.  You as editor should insist that such donated articles are at least well-researched or clearly labeled “ramblings.” John LilleyLos Alamos