Bipartisan Support for Tuition Tax Credits in Florida

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Adam Schaeffer of the Cato Institute has an OpEd in the WSJ about the expansion of the tuition tax credit program in Florida.

Highlights:

Currently, there is a $118 million cap on the program. This year nearly $100 million was donated in the program, which as of February translated into scholarships for 27,700 students. But the new law raises the caps on the value a scholarship (eventually to $5,500) and on the total amount of money that can be donated in the program to $140 million in fiscal year 2011.

It also allows the program to rise 25% annually and expands the tax base against which credits can be taken.

In 15 years [the annual donations] could approach $4 billion and support more than a quarter of the state’s students. A girl born in Florida today might find that a third or more of her peers are being educated in private schools by the time she sets foot in high school.

The bill passed both houses overwhelmingly, including support from 42% of Democrats and 52% of the legislative black caucus. (Nearly every Republican voted yes.)

State Rep. Bill Heller, the top Democrat on the House Education Policy Council, wrote recently in the St. Petersburg Times, “To me, a scholarship option for poor, struggling schoolchildren is in the greatest tradition of our collective commitment to equal educational opportunity.”

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