Minnesota House and Senate Advance School Choice Legislation

Bipartisan effort would create scholarship tax credit program for private school choice.

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, praises the State Legislature for prioritizing the needs of students across Minnesota by passing the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program.

Statement from Tommy Schultz, National Communications Director for the American Federation for Children:

“Families in Minnesota are now one step closer to having true choice when it comes to the education of their kids. AFC applauds the bipartisan approval from the House and Senate, thanking the leadership of Senators Roger Chamberlain, Paul Gazelka, Carla Nelson, Speaker Kurt Daudt and Representatives Ron Kresha, Jenifer Loon, Jim Knoblach, and Sarah Anderson for focusing on the needs of students and families. A scholarship tax credit program in the state would be a significant boost for parental choice in education across Minnesota, building off of the state’s smaller deductions and individual tax credits for various educational expenses. If signed by the Governor, low-income and working class families would be enabled with the freedom to choose the school that best fits the needs of their child, and AFC commends the Legislature for their efforts.”

Last night, the Minnesota Senate passed a tax package on a 40-27 vote that creates an Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, mirroring a similar bill in the House which passed last Thursday. The program will have a yearly cap of $35 million starting in FY 2018, and will offer a 70 percent state tax credit for individuals and corporations who donate to a foundation approved by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Individuals would receive a maximum tax credit of $10,500 and corporations would receive a maximum tax credit of $105,000 for donations to the qualifying foundations. The foundations would then be able to provide scholarships of approximately $7,500 to families earning less than double the Reduced Price Lunch – i.e., less than $89,000 for a family of four – threshold, meeting the requirement for scholarships to be 70 percent of the statewide average of the General Education Formula.