Monday, July 18, 2011

In the 'Business' of Helping Kids

Business Leaders and Education Programs: A Combination that Works

President Obama is meeting with business leaders across the nation to talk investment options—for our nation’s K-12 students.  According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal today, the Administration and business leaders are on the same side in investing in innovative education programs, much to the chagrin of special interests, like the teachers’ unions.

But businesses (and individuals) can already participate in innovative education programs that work.  Eight states currently operate scholarship tax credit programs that give hundreds of thousands of students immediate access to a quality education.

With 10 programs operating across the country, businesses and individuals can receive state tax credits for donating money to scholarship organizations that help children attend the private schools of their choice.  Often targeted to help special needs and low-income students, these programs give families a choice in the education for their children. Read the details after the jump.

In Florida, the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program helped 32,946 students attend a school of their choice last school year, with contributions from businesses across the state totaling a whopping $140 million.  Created in 2001, the program allows businesses to receive a 100 percent tax credit value for their donation (of up to 75 percent of state income tax liability).  Florida lawmakers have expanded this vital program—with strong bipartisan support—by increasing the statewide cap and will allow for further increase if the program receives high levels of donations.  Our Florida allies have blogged about the successful choice programs in Florida, including the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

And in Arizona, for example, the Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit allows businesses to receive a tax credit of 100 percent of donations from businesses.  In FY2011, businesses could donate up to $20.74 million statewide, and more than 3,600 low-income students are helped along the way.  In the 2009-2010 school year, 3,652 scholarships were awarded, totaling $7,881,787 in scholarship money at 169 participating schools.

Arizona (home to three tax credit programs), Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all give businesses and individuals the opportunity to participate in giving kids access to the educational options they deserve.

Let’s work to get more businesses involved in education by getting the word out—scholarship tax credit programs work!

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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