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Rally Pushes for School Scholarship Tax Credits

On the 13th anniversary of the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), State Senator Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) feels supporters still need to fight for the program.

“Do not assume that EITC will survive this budget or the next budget. It requires every year for us to be back here,” said Williams during a rally for the EITC on the capitol steps Wednesday.

The EITC gives a 75% tax credit to companies that donate to a scholarship fund. The tax credit increases to 90% if the company makes the donation for two consecutive years.

This EITC and its companion program the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC), both help students enroll in the private primary or secondary school of their choice. The OSTC specifically looks at students from the bottom 15% of schools in the state. The program gives scholarships to students from those low performing schools to attend another school.

“Unfortunately so many children are housed in places where they are not getting a great education. This liberates them from that circumstance that requires them to go to a place that they don’t want to go to,” said Williams.

Pennsylvania currently budgets $100 million dollars for the EITC, of which 60% goes to scholarship funds. Another 30% is used for educational improvement programs in public schools. The rest of the money is invested in a pre-kindergarten scholarship program.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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