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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS SAVE TAXPAYERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR

The author of a recent letter, "Catholic Church already gets a tremendous tax break," was both right and wrong. He's right -- public schools need money for teachers, educational programs and services. But he's wrong on two counts. First, he contends, "no one gets a better tax break than the Catholic Church." All nonprofit organizations receive the same tax-exempt status.

Why? Because the government knows that such organizations provide a tremendous array of education, health and social services to the public, thus saving the government billions of dollars. Catholic schools save New York's taxpayers about $4 billion each year. Elected officials also know that without their tax-exempt status, many of these groups wouldn't exist.

Second, he contends that the tax credit of which Cardinal Edward Egan speaks would be given to Catholic schools and would deprive public schools of needed funds. Tax credits are given to taxpayers, not schools. Enabling more parents to exercise school choice would result in additional savings to the government, savings that perhaps could be devoted to the needs of public schools.

Denise McKenzie

Secretary of Education, Diocese of Buffalo

Diane Vigrass

School Superintendent, Diocese of Buffalo