Governor vows to veto "voucher" legislation
The House and Senate tax omnibus bills both establish a tax-credit private school scholarship program where corporations and individuals can receive significant tax breaks for their contributions. Donations are used for scholarships for students in low-income families so parents can choose a private school, including religious schools, if they feel it would better meet the needs of their children.
Supporters of this program say, not only is it a tool to reduce Minnesota's achievement gap, but it also comes with a relatively small $35 million price tag. However, in this
to the Governor, Minnesota's public school superintendents, school board members and teachers stand together in opposition to the program. They point out that nationally, state's that have passed similar scholarship programs have seen exponential growth in the cost over the years. The letter states, ". . . in 1997, legislative aides estimated the total cost of Arizona's first-in-the-nation tax-credit scholarship program would be $4.5 million annually. By the 2015-16 school year, it had grown to $140 million. Pennsylvania's scholarship voucher program started in 2001 at $30 million. It is now at $175 million. Florida launched the nation's second tax-credit scholarship voucher program in 2001 with a cost estimated at $50 million. Next fiscal year, it will cost the state's general fund $699 million."
Until Minnesota's public schools are funded at a level where all students' educational needs are met and schools are able to offer the opportunities to prepare student for the jobs now and into the future that will support Minnesota's prosperity, SEE strongly opposes the tax-credit scholarship program.