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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 22, 2020 03:50 PM
From: Senator Mike Regan
To: All Senate members
Subject: Automatic Escalator for EITC/OSTC Scholarships
Now more than ever, we know education is not one-size-fits-all — individual children have individual needs. Long before student-centered learning became a trend, Pennsylvania’s Tax Credit Scholarship programs were recognized as a national model, helping thousands of students choose a school that best fits their needs.
Unfortunately, thousands of students — nearly half of all applicants — are turned away from these beneficial programs each year due to arbitrary caps. This unfairly denies low- and middle-income children access to the school that’s best for them.
To address this, I will be re-introducing Senate Bill 299, which will automatically increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) caps by 25% each Fiscal Year when at least 90% of the respective available tax credits are claimed in the previous Fiscal Year.
We know increasing the caps allows more children to receive scholarships. The $25 million increase we passed in 2019 provided an additional 8,000 scholarships. But still nearly 43,000 student applications were denied.  We also know businesses want to contribute more to the program. Each year, businesses that apply for tax credits are turned away due to the caps—to the tune of millions of dollars in lost donations.  The automatic escalator would solve this mismatch.
Ultimately, parent choice in education is intended to provide kids and their parents options that will allow students to flourish and excel in an environment that is best for them. This is more important than ever in the wake of the education disruptions from COVID. As the entire nation deals with these issues, Pennsylvania can once again be a leader for our students. I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation to get us there.

Introduced as SB527