Commentary

Arizona School Choice Victory

Clint Bolick and Matt Ladner at The Alliance for School Choice send word of another victory for Arizona children: We are pleased to report that a budget agreement announced today between Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Senate President Ken Bennett and Speaker Jim Weirs includes a $5 million scholarship tax credit for corporations. The bill allows for maximum scholarships of $4,200 for grades K-8 and $5,500 for 9-12. Only public school students transferring to private schools are eligible for aid, and 70% of funds must be spent for children with family incomes below 185% of the income limit to qualify for reduced lunches. The credit will begin in 2006. In addition, a bill eliminating marriage penalties in tax credits will raise the maximum amount which can be donated to a scholarship organization under the individual tax credit program passed in 1997. Originally, the law allowed for a $500 donation. In 2000, the maximum allowable credit for a couple was raised to $625 as part of a referendum. The new legislation will phase in an increase to the maximum credit allowed for a couple to $1,000. The governor has announced that she will sign the school choice provisions as a part of the overall budget agreement.

Lisa Snell was the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.