Schools, Charities Can Use Use A Gift This Time Of Year

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Amidst the flurry of the season, we hope you will take a moment to make a gift to your community — by taking advantage of the state tax credit you can get with a donation to local schools and charities.

We realize that this season, in the midst of the stubborn downturn, poses a daunting list of financial challenges for many of us.

Still, a donation now will take $200 per person off your state income tax bill next year — since the program offers a straight tax credit rather than just a deduction from income.

This year, the agencies that qualify for such a donation face especially great challenges.

Obviously, many of the donations people make each year go to our schools, which continue to cope with debilitating financial problems. Payson schools have cut back each year — with additional reductions predicted in the current year. As a result, the money people donate to the schools through the Credit for Kids program has increasingly gone to support basic classroom needs, not just extras.

Payson schools have collected a total of $2 million in the past 12 years through the tax credit program. The money has supported the arts and athletic programs at both the high school and middle school and has sustained a wealth of enrichment activities studies show contribute mightily to students’ academic success. The money supports more than 50 clubs, tutoring, extended kindergarten hours, field trips, music, drama and a multitude of other programs.

In addition, you can donate to a host of other organizations that have worked to help your neighbors cope with this lingering economic mess.

Consider the role of those additional organizations that now qualify for the credit.

Payson Area Habitat for Humanity every year provides low-cost housing for hard-working Payson residents, helping people cope in a town where the average working person can’t afford the cost of the average house.

Payson Christian Clinic offers often free and always low-cost medical care to the working poor and reports an almost doubling of the need in the past year.

Payson Community Kids provides after-school programs for latch-key kids who desperately need the supervision and enrichment.

Payson Helping Payson provides help paying rent, utility bills and medical costs for Rim Country residents who might otherwise become homeless or go hungry.

Time Out Inc. offers shelter to women and children fleeing violent relationships, helping this community deal with perhaps the No. 1 cause of serious police calls and the source of the overwhelming majority of violent crimes here.

All these organizations and our schools urgently need your help this year.

And we understand that it’s Christmas and all those bright-eyed kids on your list would love something nice under the tree.

But then, perhaps it would be even better to teach those cherubs the deeper meaning of the holiday that marks the birth of the one who admonished us to feed the hungry, heal the sick and comfort the afflicted.

As the Bible put it in the book of James (2:14): “My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, ‘Good luck to you, keep yourselves warm, and have plenty to eat,’ but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.”

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