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2/18/2004 3:34:30 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Arizona--Calls Needed for Scholarship Credits

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 18, 2004


Arizona--Calls Needed for Scholarship Credits


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Arizona is one of a handful of states that provide some tax relief
for private educators. Arizona's Scholarship Tax Credit was the
first law in the nation to allow state taxpayers to donate their own
money to private scholarship funds, which can then be used to send
children to private schools instead of public schools. This law has
been challenged by the teacher's union, ACLU, and People for the
American Way, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of it,
holding that your money does not become "state money" just because
the state allows you to keep it by means of a tax credit. The United
States Supreme Court refused to overturn that decision, so Arizona's
Scholarship Tax Credit is secure from judicial attack at this time.

Despite this, opponents of school choice keep trying to overturn or
undermine this unique tax credit law. Fortunately, some friends of
educational freedom are still trying to expand it. Senate Bill 1280
would allow corporations to donate money to these scholarship funds,
in addition to the individual taxpayers who are already doing so.
Despite Arizona's difficult budget crunch, the Senate Finance
Committee voted to pass this bill. It is now held up in the
Education Committee, where two key Senators have the power to kill
it. We need you to call to keep school choice advancing in Arizona.


Action Requested:

1. Please call Senator Toni Hellon, the Chair of the Education
Committee, at 602-926-4326. Please say, "Please support SB 1280.
Corporations pay taxes to support the public schools: please let them
help support private schools, too."

2. Please call Senator Karen Hale at 602-926-4323. Say, "Please
vote for SB 1280. The Senate Finance Committee says Arizona can
afford it. Make sure the Education Committee supports more options
for Arizona children."


Background:

Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit is the first of its kind, and has been
copied to some degree by Pennsylvania and Florida. In both of those
states, only corporations, not individual taxpayers, can donate to
scholarship funds. In both Pennsylvania and Florida, corporations
are providing money so that poor children can attend private schools.
In Florida, homeschools can operate as private schools, so this money
can actually benefit families who are teaching their own children in
their own homes. This is not true in Arizona.

Pennsylvania and Florida have demonstrated that corporations are
willing to donate money to help advance private scholarship funds.
SB 1280 would expand educational choice in your state. The Finance
Committee has already determined that Arizona can afford this
additional tax credit. It is now up to Arizona homeschoolers to
persuade the Senate Education Committee to allow this new scholarship
initiative to proceed.


Sincerely,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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