We OPPOSE Establishing Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program
HB 349 Phil Cristofanelli
Missouri PTA is opposed to bills establishing the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.
Schools eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are not required to admit all students and are allowed to exclude students with disabilities or discriminate against students based on sex, race, color, religion or national origin.
Time sensitive action is needed! House Bill 349 will be discussed TODAY!
Please Tell your representative to support public education and
vote NO on HB349
The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools.
As your constituent and voter, I urge you to oppose HB349. This proposed bill will create an unchecked new tax credit program in Missouri that would allow public dollars to be used for private education, without accountability to Missouri students, parents and taxpayers. This program creates further government bureaucracy taking vital education dollars out of Missouri’s public schools that educate all students and strengthen communities.
HB349 would allow any taxpayer who makes a qualifying contribution to the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program to claim a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the total contribution. The tax credit voucher program would begin at $50 million per year and includes an escalator that would grow the program unchecked with no oversight by the Missouri General Assembly.
This new voucher program would allow for the creation of nonprofit organizations that would be allowed to defer state tax dollars that would normally go to the education of all students, steering resources away from the classroom toward bureaucratic administration.
HB349 would allow for the vouchers to be used for a number of services, including private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring services and summer education programs with no accountability or oversight from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This new program would be overseen by the State Treasurer who is given very few tools to ensure that the programs are contributing to the success of Missouri students.
This legislation would impact every district in the state by limiting the amount of state revenue available to fund public education that serves all students across the state. Public tax dollars used to support all students’ needs including mental health access, classroom support, and highly qualified teachers must be a priority for the legislature before creating programs that would defer money away from public education.
As your constituent I believe that all students deserve equal access to a free public education. The continuation of our free nation and its strength and well-being depend on our free public schools.
Vote NO on HB349.
I appreciate you considering this information as you work to support Missouri’s students, families and communities.
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Vice President of Legislation and Advocacy