New legislation signed Wednesday by Arizona governor Jan Brewer doubles the old $500 cap on tax credits for individual taxpayer donations to k-12 tuition granting organizations. The Arizona program, upheld last year by the U.S. Supreme Court (in ACSTO v. Winn), cuts taxes on those who make donations to k-12 tuition scholarship organizations. The result is that the donation costs the taxpayer nothing, but it brings a wide range of new educational options within reach of families all across the state by helping them to pay independent school tuition.
As I found in a statistical analysis of school choice programs, education tax credit don’t generally result in suffocating regulation being imposed on independent schools, so they really do expand access to a free educational marketplace. The same can’t be said for other private school choice programs, so the expansion of Arizona’s tax credits is truly welcome news.
Of course in order to keep up with leaders in the field, Arizona needs to take one more step: add a clause to the program that allows it to grow automatically as long as more parents want tuition assistance for their kids. Florida leads the way in this regard, with an education tax credit program that grows every year as long as demand is nearing the limits imposed by its current caps.
Since these programs save money as well as spreading educational freedom, what are we waiting for?