State Capitol News
8:50 am
Fri March 5, 2010

Lawmakers refuse to limit taxpayer funded scholarships

Phoenix, AZ – State law allows individuals to get a dollar-for-dollar credit
against their income taxes for money contributed to organizations
that provide scholarships so students can attend private and
parochial schools. Backers say the state really doesn't lose any
money because the amount of the scholarships is, on average, less
than the state would have to paid in aid to public schools. But
Rep. Steve Farley said there's a flaw to that argument.

(In effect, what we're doing is just simply a bailout for rich
families so that they can get tax money to pay for a school they
were going to pay for anyway because they have the means. So,
that way, there is no money saved for the state because that kid
wasn't going to go to a public school in the first place.)

Farley backed an amendment that would have limited eligibility to
families earning 185 percent of the cutoff the federal government
uses for its reduced price lunch programs. That translates out to
about $75,000 a year for a family of four. But Rep. Rick Murphy
said the program needs the flexibility.

(Just because somebody makes $100,000 a year, if they've got
eight kids, they're probably pretty close to the poverty level
anyway.)

A majority of House members sided with Murphy, with the amendment
to include income restrictions in the program defeated. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.