Speaker Applauds EITC/OSTC Bill Passage
5/11/2015
HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) applauded passage of legislation that would significantly expand the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs to help Pennsylvania students.

“With scholarships changing lives and demand growing accordingly, it was imperative we increase the supply,” said Turzai. “Parents, students, businesses and taxpayers all benefit from this bill, which delivers increased parental choice for positive educational outcomes.”

House Bill 752 increases funding for the EITC from $100 million to $170 million and the OSTC from $50 million to $80 million. Turzai and a bipartisan delegation from Berks County visited Sacred Heart School in West Reading and held a roundtable discussion with parents who saw positive results and supported an increase.

“After visiting parochial schools across the state, it’s clear thousands of parents feel this option is producing great results,” said Turzai.

Nearly 90,000 students would be eligible for the programs if the bill becomes law.

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 toward 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. The bill, which passed by a vote of 166-26, now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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

Media Contact: Jay Ostrich
jostrich@pahousegop.com
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai / @RepTurzai
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