On May 3, the Iowa Senate passed the "standings" appropriations bill that included an increase for the School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credits from $7.5 million to $10 million starting in calendar year 2012. This was tied to an “allowance growth” increase for public schools.
The Iowa House, however, has written its own version of the bill and did not include the increase in their version. In 2010, Iowa’s school tuition organizations used up all $7.5 million in tax credits and has demand for more.
STOs raise money to give out in scholarships to lower-income students who wish to attend an accredited private school in Iowa. Those who give to a School Tuition Organization scholarship fund receive a 65 percent Iowa tax credit on the donation.
These tax credits are not an appropriation. They save the state money because current and new students to Iowa’s private schools do not draw down state school aid dollars. The program also goes a long way in respecting Iowa parents’ right to direct the education of their children by choosing the educational environment that best meets their child’s needs.
There has been great bipartisan support for the STO tax credits over the years. It’s not too late for House Republican leadership to add the increase back into the standings bill. Please send a message to your Representative asking him or her to increase the school tuition organization tax credit to $10 million.
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Thank you for your help! We can’t get this done without HUGE grassroots support from you!