Speaker Turzai Applauds EITC Scholarship Expansion
7/13/2016
HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today applauded the bipartisan passage of House Bill 1606, which in part would continue to expand the supply of opportunity scholarships to meet the growing demand of Pennsylvania students and parents.  The bill passed with a vote of 172-18.

House Bill 1606 would increase the amount of tax credits available in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $25 million, providing a total of $175 million in both the EITC and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

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 new tax credits would be allocated in the same proportions as outlined in current law. Scholarship organization credits would increase by $15 million to $75 million.  Educational improvement organization credits would increase by $7.5 million to $37.5 million. Pre-kindergarten scholarship organization credits would increase by $2.5 million to $12.5 million.

“By allowing parents to choose what is best for their children, these programs ensure students of all backgrounds are afforded a quality education,” said Turzai. “The demand to increase the amount of scholarships is growing for a reason – they work.”

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 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.

House Bill 1606 now heads to the governor for signature.

“This is a significant step forward to ensuring every student in the Commonwealth has an opportunity to learn in an environment that best suits their needs,” said Turzai. “We are encouraging the governor to sign the bill so we can help more students and parents.”

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

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