The Education Income Tax Credit (EITC) has long drained resources from public schools to benefit the rich in Pennsylvania. It has been a constant source of grief for communities, parents, and our public schools and many education advocates have spoken out against the program. To no surprise, one of the tax scheme’s biggest backers is the Koch-funded Commonwealth Foundation.
Pennsylvania’s EITC is one of the most generous tax giveaways in the country dressed up as education reform. In reality, these type of programs allow corporations and the rich to profit at the expense of children in public schools. A study in recent years described programs like the ETIC as a “get-rich scheme for shrewd taxpayers.” In Pennsylvania, corporations can literally profit from this. Privatized schools that have taken money from these type of schemes have went as far to highlight to funders they can “profit up 29 percent” off their contribution.
With this in mind, PA Spotlight would like to introduce you to the Commonwealth Kids LLC. If that name seems a little too close to the Commonwealth Foundation for comfort, your suspicions would be correct. In the same way they do for their billionaire funders, the Commonwealth Foundation have hidden their true intentions behind pushing for an expanded EITC in Pennsylvania. It’s no surprise given how their agenda has failed in Harrisburg.
The Commonwealth Kids LLC was registered with the state on June 26, 2017. A pamphlet handed out at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference by the Commonwealth Foundation spells it out who they are targeting. Under the “Who Qualifies” section, they put out a call for millionaires and corporations to sign up providing a back end link to the Commonwealth Foundation website. This is not advertised anywhere on their site or is searchable in their queue.
Commonwealth Kids Joinder Agreement and Pamphlet
Since its registration as an LLC, the Commonwealth Kids have given almost $3 million in write-offs to undisclosed entities or individuals. Not only are the Commonwealth Foundation advocating for policies that intentionally defund public schools, they are now also offering their donors a way to profit off the backs of children.
The Commonwealth Kids LLC applications can be viewed here: 201807020480, 201807020481, 201805154171, 201707036111, 201707036115.
The CEO of the Commonwealth Kids LLC is an individual named Randy Tarpey. Mr. Tarpey has deep ties to privatized education. In fact, Mr. Tarpey has long profited off this scheme through his Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Fund (CPSF). Like the Commonwealth Kids LLC, CPSF and three affiliated “Special Purpose Entities,” act as a pass-through to reap EITC benefits.
Randy Tarpey Correspondence
When the Commonwealth Foundation put Pennsylvania children in front of their arguments for school reform saying this is about choice, they are lying and the Commonwealth Kids LLC is direct evidence of the intentions. As with most things related to this front group, it’s about their billionaire and millionaire backers.