June 18, 2019, Harrisburg, Pa.— Today, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed HB 800, which would have expanded Pennsylvania’s popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit—a program providing private school scholarships to low- and middle-income families.
Wolf’s own kitchen cabinet supply company, the Wolf Organization, has benefited from the EITC program in the past, donating $60,000 between 2001 and 2005 and receiving $54,000 in tax credits, according to records obtained by the Exponent from the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Charles Mitchell, Commonwealth Foundation President and CEO, issued the following statement in response to Wolf’s veto:
Tens of thousands of students are desperate for scholarships that represent an escape hatch from schools that aren’t meeting their needs. Gov. Wolf’s veto slams the door on students’ opportunity to obtain an education that will set them on a path to success.
Gov. Wolf’s own actions contradict his anti-school choice ideology.
Last week, Gov. Wolf called EITC expansion, “not something I think is good for Pennsylvania.” Yet Gov. Wolf’s own company donated $60,000 to this program while he was at the helm, receiving $54,000 in tax credits in return.
And though Gov. Wolf attended an elite private school which now charges $60,000 in annual tuition, he now says his goal is “educating every child through our public-school system.”
Additionally, Gov. Wolf’s claim that tax credit scholarships do financial harm to public schools is false.
State education funding has increased by $1.5 billion under Gov. Wolf’s administration, while school districts now hold $4.6 billion in reserve funds. Pennsylvania ranks 9th in the nation in school spending.
In fact, a new study shows the EITC saves public schools billions of dollars, by educating low-income students at a fraction of the cost.
Lawmakers should stand up for students by demanding a substantial increase in tax credit scholarships as part of the state budget negotiations.
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Michael Torres at 850-619-2737 or email@example.com to schedule an interview.
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