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Pennsylvania Republicans pass massive expansion of school choice

 (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Pennsylvania Republicans passed a massive school choice tax credit expansion on Monday, increasing the programs by $75 million. The bill that would help struggling parents remove their children from failing schools still faces obstacles, especially from the Democratic governor.

The bill enjoyed bipartisan support in State House, passing by 147 to 39 because it tackled education reform from multiple angles. It increased funding for the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) by $25 million, reported Penn Live.

Some Democrats criticized the bills because they both give large tax cuts to businesses who donate money to education. The EITC grants $105 million in a tax credit to businesses who support private scholarships, $52.5 million to those supporting innovative school programs, and $17.5 million for businesses that donate to preschool education.

OSTC gives a significant tax break to any business which funds a scholarship program that helps get students out of low-achieving schools.

Still, the state faces a $700 budget gap, and the governor has not embraced the educational credit programs, saying it will cost additional cuts to other programs or an increase in property tax.

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