Georgia Enacts Nation’s 23rd School Choice Program

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed the legislation sent to him last month creating a tax-credit scholarship program in Georgia. It’s the nation’s 23rd school choice program.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Further proof, if further proof were necessary, that school choice is politically more successful than ever.

One thing that’s really gratifying about this program is that it has no demographic restrictions at all. Any student enrolled in Georgia public schools (K-12) is eligible for a private school scholarship. The days of limited choice are numbered.

Having swung from a win in Louisiana to a win in Georgia, all eyes now swing back to Louisiana, where a legislative vote today will determine whether a voucher bill moves forward. Gov. Bobby Jindal recently signed into law an education tax credit in the state.

Details on the new Georgia program, as they will soon appear on the Friedman Foundation’s online program guide:

GEORGIA

Tax Credits for Student Scholarship Organizations

Enacted 2008

Georgia provides a credit on both personal and corporate income taxes for donations to Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs), privately run non-profit organizations that support private-school scholarships. Individual taxpayers contributing to SSOs may claim a dollar-for-dollar credit of up to $1,000, and married couples filing jointly may claim up to $2,500.  Corporate taxpayers may claim a dollar-for-dollar credit worth up to 75 percent of the taxpayer’s total tax liability. The program is capped at $50 million in tax credits per year.

FAST FACTS

·         All Georgia public school students eligible

·         Both individual and corporate taxpayers may donate

·         Program capped at $50 million

Scholarship or Voucher Value:

SSOs may determine the amount of each scholarship, as in most other states with tax-credit scholarship programs.

Student or School Participation:

No information on participation is available yet.

Student Eligibility:

All Georgia students enrolled in public schools are eligible to receive scholarships. SSOs may set their own eligibility guidelines. Taxpayers may not make contributions earmarked for a particular child.

Legal Status of Program:

No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

Regulations on the Program:

SSOs are required to be non-profit organizations that allocate at least 90 percent of their revenue to private-school scholarships. No more than 25 percent of an SSO’s revenue may be carried forward into the next year before it is spent. SSOs must undergo annual audits by certified public accountants, file audits and fiscal reports with the Department of Revenue, may not use a donor’s money to support that donor’s child and may not restrict their scholarships to a single school. Participating private schools must obey anti-discrimination laws.

Research on Program:

Currently no research items tied to this program.

 

News on Program:

Currently no news items are tied to this program.

 

Governing Statutes:

Georgia Code, 20-2A and 48-7-29.13.

3 Responses to Georgia Enacts Nation’s 23rd School Choice Program

  1. […] tax credits for donations to private school scholarship programs. Education researcher Greg Forster has the details of the new law from the Friedman Foundation, […]

  2. […] Education policy expert and author Jay P. Green explained on his blog: […]

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