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American Federation for Children: AZ School Choice Bills go to Governor

Improvements to Ariz. Tuition Tax Credit Scholarships await Governor’s signature

HB2483 and HB2153 offer accountability measures and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit programs

PHOENIX (March 31, 2015) — The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds the Arizona Legislature for passing educational choice bills which increase transparency among School Tuition Organizations (STOs) and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program to include donations from small corporations. HB2483, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston, passed the House this afternoon with a 41 to 19 bipartisan vote. The legislation requires STOs to report on their websites the amount of money awarded to low-income families through private school scholarships. HB2153, sponsored by Rep. Justin Olson, passed the Senate with a vote of 16 to 13. This bill brings parity for small businesses (S-Corps) to have the ability to donate to the state’s Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program which funds STOs.

“We applaud Reps. Livingston and Olson, as well as all of the legislators who voted in favor of improving this crucial scholarship program, which helps Arizona’s high-risk and low-income students,” said Kim Martinez, American Federation for Children communications associate. “The Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program brings opportunity to children who could never afford to attend private school otherwise. Adding more accountability and expanding the funding pool helps secure the program for current and future recipients.”

HB2483 requires School Tuition Organizations to disclose on their website and through Department of Revenue reports, how much money they are in fact using to scholarship low-income children. This transparency allows corporate donors to see which STOs are helping disadvantaged children the most and how much money they are actually giving in low-income based scholarships.

HB2153 allows S-Corps to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to school tuition organizations. This provides many Arizona small businesses with the opportunity to donate to STOs if they so choose and receive the same tax benefit as large corporations.

School Tuition Organizations are required by law to distribute 90 percent of the corporate tax credit donations they receive in the form of scholarships to low-income children.

HB2483 and HB2153 now go to Gov. Ducey for consideration.

The Arizona Federation for Children is a state affiliate of the American Federation for Children.

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