Welfare for the rich? Private school tax credit programs expanding

Mar 1, 2013 by

So what? At a time when government budgets at all levels are under enormous strain, families and businesses are struggling and federal agencies are facing dramatic across-the-board spending cuts, you would think lawmakers would be careful about spending public money. So it may surprise you to learn that in a growing number of states, legislators are setting aside public money to pay for private school tuition — and rich people are benefiting.

It’s a school choice option known as tuition tax credits (or private school tax credits or student tax credits or scholarship tax credits and a few other things too.) Whatever they are called, these tax credits are essentially alternatives to vouchers, which give public funds to families so their kids can attend private schools.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 14 tuition tax credit programs in 11 states as of last fall, and they are spreading. On Thursday, a tax credit program passed in the Alabama legislature (with Republican support and despite Democratic opposition), while there are bills awaiting votes in other legislatures, such as in Mississippi. Virginia passed one last year, and a tax credit program in Georgia that “won” an award for being exceedingly wasteful may be expanded.

Welfare for the rich? Private school tax credit programs expanding.

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