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Legislators announce tax credit proposal for non-public school students

To the right, a close-up of a poster taped to a marble pillar that reads "Support the parental choice tax credit program" in red blue and black, with a picture of four young students. To the left, in the foreground  hangs a flag of the State of Idaho (Blue with a yellow seal and insignia.
Julie Luchetta
/
Boise State Public Radio
Legislators announced the proposed bill on Friday at a press conference in the Capitol rotunda in Boise.

On Friday, legislators announced a new tax credit proposal for students who receive schooling outside of public institutions.

Under the proposed bill, families would receive a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 to cover costs related to their child’s non-public education. This includes private school tuition, transportation costs or homeschool fees.

Republican Rep. Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls), who helped write the bill, said the credit would help parents choose what’s best for their family.

“We have families who are paying double,” she said speaking after a press conference in the state Capitol. “They're paying for the public system, and they're paying for the private system.”

“Our system is already segregated by income, and I believe this is an attempt at equity and better opportunity for all kids,” she added, saying the credit would be complementary to the public school system.

Rep. Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) disagreed.

“Dollars are being siphoned out of the fund that we use for public schools and will go towards private, religious and potentially for profit institutions with zero accountability,” she said. “These are just vouchers by another design.”

“What we've seen in other states is that once these voucher schemes get started, they become budget busters,” Necochea added.

The fund to cover the credit would be capped at $40 million and would be distributed on a first come first serve basis to qualifying students. The program does not have income requirements. The credit would be available to school-aged students who reside in Idaho and are not enrolled full time in a public school.

An additional $10 million would go toward a grant program for families who need reimbursement before tax season.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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