By A. B. Hill

Arithmetic can be a challenging subject as any student cramming for finals will tell you. State lawmakers in Harrisburg will agree. Right now, they must solve a particularly tough math problem – balance the Commonwealth budget before June 30.

Gov. Ed Rendell and our state legislators must make some difficult decisions. Recent reports indicate that the state of Pennsylvania is $1.1 billion short of anticipated revenue. Somehow, they must bring in more revenue, cut spending on government programs, or both.

Many program cuts are being considered to make up for the budget shortfall, including the highly successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Tough times call for tough measures. Pennsylvanians need to ask, will cutting the EITC result in the desired taxpayer savings? To fully consider the impact, let’s do the math. {{more}}

Given: All students in Pennsylvania must go to school.

Given: 44,000 students receive EITC scholarships to attend a non-public school.

Given: It costs the taxpayers about $12,083 per year to educate a student in public school.

Therefore, if all 44,000 students lose their EITC scholarships and return to public schools, then the taxpayers will have to pay an additional $531.6 million per year in local school taxes.

Pennsylvanians agree that supporting a child’s education now is an investment in tomorrow’s economy. In fact, other education programs are proposed to increase in this year’s state budget. Tough economic times require us to make the most of limited resources. A billion dollar shortfall in the state budget is a tough problem to solve; but cutting a successful educational program like EITC that saves local taxpayers does not add up.

Operation Restore is a statewide initiative to restore funding for EITC to $75 million. People all across the Commonwealth need to speak up and affirm that funding a successful educational program is a good investment and a smart move for the future of Pennsylvania.

The Advocates for Catholic Education in Pennsylvania, or ACE-PA network, is a key partner in the Operation Restore effort. ACE-PA is encouraging all concerned citizens to visit their state legislators as soon as possible in their district offices. During the visit, lawmakers should be asked to support the restoration of the $75 million for EITC. In addition to their personal support, legislators should be urged to also contact their legislative leadership regarding EITC restoration. Leadership in all caucuses must understand that people in all legislative districts will be hurt by EITC cuts. Just a few visits to every state legislator will make a big impact for Operation Restore.

For up-to-date information about Operation Restore, visit

To look up your legislator’s district office location and other contact information, use the ‘Elected Official Look Up” link on the Pennsylvania Catholic Advocacy Network web page:

Become an advocate for Catholic education today at or call 717-238-9613.

Tens of thousands of Catholic school students all across Pennsylvania are grateful for your support.

Hill is Communications Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference – the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania.