Expansion of private-school tax credits advances in state Senate
House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, speaks after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(Harrisburg) — Legislation to substantially expand taxpayer support for private and religious schools is taking another step in Pennsylvania.
The Senate Education Committee approved the bill Wednesday over the protests of Democrats.
It’s sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai and passed the Republican-controlled House last month on a near-party line basis.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is critical of it, saying it boosts business tax credits at the expense of public school funding. But Turzai is expected to make it part of June’s budget negotiations for the fiscal year starting July 1.
It would nearly double the Educational Improvement Tax Credit to $210 million annually, add automatic 10% increases and lift the family income eligibility limit to $95,000.
The program reimburses corporations for donating to school groups, which primarily offer private school scholarships.