In Defense of Tax Credit Scholarship Programs

By CSF President Darla Romfo

Stephanie Saul’s article about Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program in today’s New York Times highlights some troubling aspects of the administration of private school scholarships in that state. We want to point out that tax credit scholarship programs vary in design, and Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF) supports well-designed tax credit programs that are administered correctly and efficiently.

I hope you will take a moment to read this blog post by John Kirtley, Chairman of Step Up for Students, which administers scholarships funded by Florida’s corporate tax credit program. In 1999, John started a CSF partner program in Tampa Bay which led to his involvement in designing and running the Florida program. His post highlights the importance of program design in any tax credit program, as well as the obligation of such programs to serve the neediest children, to track scholarship recipient progress, to allow children to keep their scholarship if they transfer schools, and to operate in a transparent and fiscally responsible way.

While not every program is perfect, the values and merits of tax credit programs should not be dismissed out of hand because of some imperfections in one program. Good tax credit programs (and private scholarship organizations) are providing a great benefit to thousands of low-income children, empowering them with a good education today, and greatly improving their chances for success in college and beyond.

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