Pa. House votes to expand education-related tax credit programs by $75 million

Measure passed by 147-39 vote

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania school districts weren't the only ones to receive “snow days” this week as State Representatives were able to jump on the bandwagon.
Session was canceled on Tuesday. But before the storm on Monday, legislators managed to squeeze in an important vote, opting to increase tax credits for businesses that donate to certain educational programs and partnerships by over $75 million.
In a 147-39 bi-partisan vote, the chamber approved legislation that would increase funding for the education improvement tax credit program. The program gives tax credits to businesses donating to a scholarship organization, educational improvement organization or a pre-k scholarship organization.
It would also raise tax credits for the opportunity scholarship program, which allows students living in the confines of poorly performing school districts to obtain scholarships and attend schools of their choice.
"It sort of affords the opportunity to use private dollars to help fund education,” said Rep. Paul Schemel. (R – 90th District)
The programs impact both private and public schools.
"We participate in Pennsylvania’s EITC program, which does offer businesses tax credits in order to help with financial aid at the school. We have a waiting list for financial aid at the school," said Michelle D’Antonio, Head of Montessori Academy
Over 30 percent of Montessori students receive financial aid, roughly two-thirds of which D’Antonio said wouldn't exist without EITC programs.
“The real message here is that we are providing more money for all education, [in the] public [and] private [sectors]. It’s a great program, [and] it’s a bi-partisan program,” said Rep. Jesse Topper. (R - 78th District)
This measure must pass in the Senate, but officials said it could have a big impact on the Commonwealth's 2017-2018 budget.

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