Tax break pushed for private school costs in K-12 | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tax break pushed for private school costs in K-12

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 4:34 PM

Sen. Jason Rapert slipped through the special language subcommittee of Joint Budget today a change in a college savings plan that will allow a $5,000-a-year tax deduction for money put into a savings account for private K-12 education.

It's estimated to cost the state more than $5 million a year in lost tax revenue.

Rapert said the change merely mirrors a change in federal law for the so-called 529 plans run through the treasurer's office that allow tax-advantaged savings for higher education. The amendment also exempts from taxation the earnings on money invested in the account. The revenue impact report, which you can read at the bottom of the link, says there are 29,000 students in 179 private schools in the state, paying an average of about $5,700 each. The benefit would take effect this year.

Meanwhile on the private school support front, Sen. Bart Hester apparently is pushing for a big increase in the so-called Success Scholarship, essentially a voucher program for children nominally said to have special education needs. I say nominally because there's been some question about the standards for determining a special need and about whether private schools to which some students have taken the money have special qualifications. The governor reportedly plans a small increase in the program, perhaps $200,000 to $1.5 million total, where Hester wanted more than triple that increase.

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