O'Malley backs tax credit to help private schools
"I believe the bill is crucial if we are to stem the tide of private school closures in the state," O'Malley said in a letter to the chairman of the Senate budget committee, which is considering a bill that includes the credit. "These closures represent a loss of educational diversity and opportunity for our students and will ultimately increase costs and enrollment pressures on our public school systems."
The bill, sponsored by Sen. James E. DeGrange Sr.(D-Anne Arundel) and strongly supported by the Maryland Catholic Conference, would create an income tax credit for 75 percent of a contribution made to a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships in eligible private schools. The credit would take effect in the 2011 tax year.
Similar programs exist in several other states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Florida.
Bills seeking to establish the credit in Maryland have died in recent years, in part because of concerns about the potential expense. Legislative analysts say the program could cost Maryland up to $50 million a year if it is similar to those in other states. Advocates for the Maryland bill in have suggested a more modest figure and note that it does not require any money to be spent.
O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said it is too early to say how much O'Malley would include in any upcoming budgets to cover the cost of the credit.
March 3, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly , Governor , John Wagner
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