Maricopa County
Democratic Party

AZ Tax-Credit Program Continues to Undermine Public Education

When it was created 18 years ago Arizona touted the first tax credit for private education as a way to support low-income children and children with special-needs, as detailed in an article in The Arizona Republic. However, now "about 3% of the money is designated specifically for special-needs students and 32% of the scholarship money given through the individual tax-credit programs goes to children of 'low income' families."

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Even more disturbing, the program, long advocated for by Republican leaders in the legislature and Gov. Ducey, was initially estimated to cost $4.5 million a year in 1997 but now tops $140 million.

 

Rep. Dr. Eric Meyer, Democratic Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives, knows the impact this program has on public schools. “'When you give to a private-school tax credit, it’s taking over $100 million out of the general fund to pay for your neighborhood school', he said."

Some argue that the tax-credit allows private schools to educate more children, thus, removing some of the burden from public schools. "But Arizona’s private-school enrollment in 2012, the most recent year available, was nearly 2,000 students lower than it had been since before the tax-credit program was started. Public and charter schools in Arizona during that same period have grown by more than 400,000 children."

#AskDuceyWhy he and Republican leaders continue to steal money from public schools to benefit families that already have resources.