For The Record
Following are excerpts from April 5 remarks by President Reagan before the New York State Federation of Catholic School Parents.
As you know, we've submitted a bill to the Congress that would make [tuition tax] credits available to parents like yourselves. And the bill that we propose does not violate the separation of church and state. And it's certainly no threat to public education. What it would do is give hard-working Catholic and other private-school parents a break while increasing diversity and excellence in both public and private schools. And I want to compliment you on your efforts in the past for this bill, and pledge again my strongest efforts on its behalf. ...
Together, we can uphold and reinforce the basic right of all parents to educate their children in the way that best meets their children's needs.
But opposition to tuition tax credits isn't the only roadblock those in Washington have put in our way. They also managed during the past generation to construct a tax system that excessively burdens the family and actually discriminates against those traditional family values. For example, the dependency exemption on your income tax--the money you can deduct for raising a child or caring for an elderly relative--was $600 in the late 1940's. That has been increased to $1,000 now. But if that deduction had been indexed to keep pace with inflation, today you would be deducting more than $3,000 for every one of your children.
So you can see that in the very time that the cost of raising a family has gone up, the tax treatment of families has actually worsened. Is it any wonder that American parents feel so much financial pressure today and that such pressure sometimes contributes to family breakups?
I want you to know, I've told the Treasury Department to come up with recommendations to make your taxes more simple, fair for families and all Americans, and to increase incentives for economic growth by broadening the base, and bringing your income-tax rates down, not up.
On this issue of tax fairness for families, or other issues like the prayer amendment, stricter laws against the criminals that prey on our young people, greater discipline in our schools, and our pro-life amendment, there is more at stake here than just one Administration's political agenda. Our goal is to make this nation's traditional values a reality in our daily life.