Speaker Announces Bipartisan EITC/OSTC Expansion Bill
5/6/2015
Bipartisan Berks County House delegation holds roundtable with parents

HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) led a bipartisan Berks County House delegation to announce details of legislation to significantly increase funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs to help Pennsylvania students.

“These scholarships not only positively change lives, but transform communities and future outcomes for the better,” said Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). “When demand for scholarships to quality schools far exceeds the dollars available from tax credits, it’s time to increase the supply.”

With a vote of 18-8, Tuesday, House Bill 752, introduced by Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), moved out of the House Education Committee and will soon move to the House floor for a vote, said Turzai. The bill increases funding for the EITC from $100 million to $170 million and the OSTC from $50 million to $80 million.

“As legislators, we need to continually expand educational programs that produce good results, where dollars follow kids toward positive outcomes, not just the feed the status quo,” said Turzai. “Schools like Sacred Heart are producing results at lower costs, have seats remaining and a high demand among those who want to fill them.”
The EITC program has provided school choice to students for 14 years and the newer OSTC program, created in 2012, will continue to assist thousands more who need help the most.

The EITC program provides tax credits to businesses which make contributions to scholarship organizations (SOs) offering scholarships to children in kindergarten through grade 12, educational improvement organizations (EIOs) providing funding for innovative educational programs in public schools, and pre-kindergarten scholarship organizations (PKSOs) offering scholarships to children enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs.

The amount of available tax credits for the EITC program is currently set at $100 million, with $60 million allocated to SOs, $30 million allocated to EIOs and $10 million allocated to PKSOs. House Bill 752 will increase available tax credits for the EITC program to $170 million, which will be allocated in the same proportions as currently provided in statute as follows: $102 million to SOs; $51 million to EIOs; and $17 million to PKSOs.

The OSTC program, which was established in 2012 based on the model of the EITC program, provides tax credits to businesses which make contributions to opportunity scholarship organizations (OSOs) offering scholarships to children in kindergarten through grade 12 who reside within the attendance boundaries of “low-achieving schools” (those schools in the lowest 15 percent of their designation as an elementary or secondary school).

The OSTC program also directs scholarships towards low-income families by requiring OSOs to give preference to applicants whose household income is within 185 percent of the federal poverty level. The amount of available tax credits for the OSTC program is currently set at $50 million.

“By allowing parents, not systems, to choose what is best for their children, these tax credits ensure children of all backgrounds are afforded a quality education,” said Turzai.

For additional information about the EITC and OSTC programs, visit www.newpa.com.


Representative Mike Turzai
The Speaker
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jay Ostrich
717.772.9943 (office), 717.649.6547 (cell)
jostrich@pahousegop.com
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai / @RepTurzai
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