Incentives Watch: Scholarship Tax Credit Odyssey Coming to a Close in Florida, Raging on in Other States


State scholarship tax credits have led to a lot of contentious debates over the years.

In Florida, the battle over the state’s scholarship tax credit has been ongoing for the last several years. The newest, and possibly final, chapter in this Homeric epic is currently being written as we speak.

A quick recap of the action so far: The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit, McCall v. Scott, challenging the scholarship tax credit. However, the plaintiffs failed to establish the proper standing and the case was dismissed. The dismissal was upheld by Florida Court of Appeals, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The plaintiffs then appealed to the state’s Supreme Court, which has not yet accepted the case.

It is here where the newest battle lines are being drawn, according to the Orlando Weekly. In an effort to draw this voyage to its close, attorneys for a group of Florida parents and representatives of the state recently filed documents imploring the Florida Supreme Court to reject the appeal, according to the article.  

The fight in Florida may be winding down, but the scholarship tax credit war is one with many fronts. The debate continues to rage in other states.

In Oklahoma, the debate surrounding the use of public funds for private schools is ongoing, according to The Oklahoman. The article articulates some of the primary undercurrents of the debate: on one side, scholarship tax credits increase educational opportunities for low-income students, but on the other side, many argue public funds would be better spent on public schools.

In Georgia, the cavalry may have just arrived for supporters of the credit. The Newnan Times-Herald recently reported that scholarship tax credits have saved Georgia taxpayers at least $12 million since 2011, and possibly as much as $85 million, according to a study conducted by EdChoice. However, it is important to note that EdChoice is a school choice advocacy group.

Regardless of the side of the coin you find yourself on, the Odyssey surrounding scholarship tax credits can be long and arduous, and it doesn’t look like it will be ending anytime too.

*Continue the discussion on Bloomberg BNA's State Tax Group on LinkedIn: Are scholarship tax credits constitutional?

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