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February 18, 2009

House Bill 1195: Establishes a Private School Tuition Income Tax Credit

Author:
Representative Lambert
Senators Brophy, Lundberg, Harvey, King K., Renfroe, and Spence

Summary:
Establishes a private school tuition income tax credit. Allows any private school to issue credit certificates to students previously enrolled in the public school and enrolling in a private school.

Status:

1/29/2009(House) Introduced, referred to Education
2/12/2009(House) Hearing at 1:30 p.m.; postponed indefinitely

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA supports this bill.

Action Requested:
No action requested at this time.

Background:
Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system while they privately educate their own children. This “double taxation” is unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the tax burden of public schools they do not use themselves, a significant number of homeschool leaders are concerned about any effort to get benefits from the government. Most homeschool leaders agree that vouchers (direct payments from the government to private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the controls and loss of freedom that comes with the money.

As an alternative, HSLDA recommends another vehicle: educational tax credits. Parents and individuals who provide for a child’s education should be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would otherwise have been used to fund public education. This goal could be accomplished through a tax credit.

Educational tax credit legislation can typically be divided into two categories: tax credits for individuals or corporations who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship fund and tax credits reimbursing parents for educational expenses incurred for their children. Arizona passed an educational tax credit law which falls into the first category while Minnesota and Illinois passed a tax credit falling into the second category.

Education tax credits offer several benefits:

  • Educational tax credits will give parents true choice in education. This tax credit will help reduce the “double tax burden” on parents who choose private or home education.
  • Education tax credits will benefit public schools. By encouraging students to attend private schools or homeschools, the tuition tax credit will reduce overcrowded public school class sizes and the student-to-teacher ratio, making more teachers available to public school students.
  • Education tax credits will benefit low-income families. Most educational tax credit proposals provide a credit for businesses and private individuals who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship fund, which are usually dedicated to helping low-income families. This type of credit provides an incentive to help give low-income families true choice in their children’s education.

For more information on educational tax credits, see our memorandum, “Why Are Educational Tax Credits Important?”

 Other Resources

Bill Text    (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History