Victory for Arizona Kids as Brewer Signs New School Choice Tax Credits into Law
Program Targeted to Help Children with Special Needs, Foster Kids
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a major victory for Arizona families, Governor Jan Brewer today signed “Lexie’s Law,” a $5 million corporate scholarship tax credit initiative designed to enhance educational opportunities for children with special needs and foster care students.
“This decision is also a moral victory for families, who have fought hard to preserve educational opportunity for their children against an onslaught of litigation brought by special interest groups. In the end, Governor Brewer and the legislature helped these families prevail over the special interests.”
Under the new initiative, corporations can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for making donations to organizations that provide scholarships so that children with special needs and foster children can attend private schools. The bill also allows insurance companies—which do not pay state income tax—to receive credits based on the insurance premium taxes they pay. This addition introduces a broad new category of businesses to the Arizona school choice equation and will aid participating children in the both the new program and the Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit.
Today’s action by Governor Brewer will provide a continued avenue to educational opportunity for students who faced uncertain futures as a result of the recent State Supreme Court decision invalidating two voucher programs. In addition, a new category of children with physical or mental impairments—those with “504 plans”—will also be eligible to participate in the new program.
The new law is named after Lexie Weck, a seven-year-old girl with autism, cerebral palsy and mild mental retardation who relied on a voucher program to attend the Chrysalis Academy, a small private school in Tempe that specializes in working with autistic children.
“Today’s passage of a new, and more robust school choice program in Arizona is a key victory for Arizona families, is smart public policy, and is a lifeline to the students whose educations were endangered,” said John Schilling, the interim president of the Alliance for School Choice. “This decision is also a moral victory for families, who have fought hard to preserve educational opportunity for their children against an onslaught of litigation brought by special interest groups. In the end, Governor Brewer and the legislature helped these families prevail over the special interests.”