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DWS, SCA pleased with passage of HB 283

ALBANY, Ga. -- In the final hours of this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly, legislators late last week approved a bill (HB 283) to increase the amount of state income tax credits that are available to taxpayers for contributions made to student scholarship organizations.

The three highlights of the bill are the increase in the annual cap to $58 million (from $51.5 million in 2012), the inclusion and higher contribution limit for individuals associated with LLCs and S corporations, and measures to increase the transparency and accountability of the Student Scholarship Organizations (SSO).

"This important legislation is the best of both worlds in that it provides more transparency and accountability and, by raising the cap, more scholarships for deserving children," said Lisa Kelly, President of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program.

SSOs use the contributions to provide scholarships to students who are seeking to transfer from K-12 public schools to the private schools. The cap increase was also linked to important improvements in the transparency and accountability of the popular tuition tax credit program.

Presently, individuals can contribute up to $2,500 each year and receive a corresponding Georgia income tax credit. Corporations can receive a tax credit for their contributions up to a maximum amount of 75% of the Georgia income tax liability.

A new provision permits owners of interests in so-called "pass-through" entities, such as partnerships, "S" corporations, and limited liability companies, to receive a tax credit for up to $10,000 of their contributions.

"Deerfield-Windsor School is delighted with the legislature's passage of HB 283," Headmaster Dave Davies said. "By increasing the annual cap on the program, private schools will be able to help more Georgia students and families who believe that a private school is the best option for their education. In addition, the measures to increase transparency and accountability of all of the Student Scholarship Organizations statewide will eliminate practices of some of those organizations that operate in the shadows and on the boundaries of ethics.

"Deerfield-Windsor School has been affiliated solely with the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program since 2009. GOAL has been the model of ethical behavior, performing an annual audit, drawing less than their state-allowed percentage for administrative fees, publishing an annual report, and working closely with the legislature to close loopholes in the current law and practices."

Sherwood Christian Academy Headmaster Glenn Schultz was also pleased with the bill's passage.

"The raising of the cap by the Georgia legislature will have a significant impact on families desiring greater choice in their children's education," Schultz said. "By raising the cap, more taxpayers will have the opportunity to re-direct some of their state tax dollars and help young people receive a quality education through private schools who would not otherwise be able to afford it. With the existing cap on tax dollars that can be directed toward schools like Sherwood Christian Academy many tax payers were unable to participate in this program. This limited the monies we had available to provide financial assistance to qualified families."

Comments

Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

This is a tax CREDIT which means it is 100% deducted from your tax liability to the state. (It cost you nothing) This is NOT a tax deduction that only give you part credit....Everyone who pays taxes in Ga. should take advantage of this program. For once you can control how your tax money is spent and not depend on the State to waste it.

Score one for Taxpayers!

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voxpopuli 1 year ago

Before the "Professional" Association of Georgia Educators get on here and spread untruths about this program, let's be clear - this program saves the State budget money. The scholarships are less than the funds the State provides to educate those students in the government schools. Again, this is a positive to the bottom line.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

More athletic scholarship money available for Privates! Woo Hoo!

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GeeGee 1 year ago

If you are on welfare, then you do not owe any taxes. They really pulled one over on the taxpayers of Georgia and they are having a shortfall on income taxes? Oh well.

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RedEric 1 year ago

The alternative is to make public schools work....that ain't gonna happen. Our schools are improving, but will still graduate functionally illiterate children. Public unions and welfare have ruined public schools. Success is the exception. I think it is a good move.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

Apparently, the Georgia taxpayers are picking up tariffs for both public and private schools. More of the sorry bill writing by the legislature. Governor, this is a bad deal. If you ain't signed it let it pass.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

Fry this a relief for taxpayers. The state spends less money on a student to go to private schools. Plus it gives any child the chance to get a education that wants one, it gives them a way out of public schools. The money I spend helped a child with special needs get out of public school (she was just warehoused in public schools) and now she is learning in a private school.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

I understand your good work and applaud your for it. However, my concern as a taxpayer in GA somebody is going to have to pay this State's bills. Now we can do it equitably where everybody pays their fair share or we can give tax credits (fair shares) back to people that ought to be paying for State bills too. Now, if we don't need the money, fine. Let's reduce everybody's taxes and all the taxpayers can do what they want with the extra money. Jefferson's rule: equality for all privileges for none.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

Fry let me try this. I pay $2,500. plus in taxes to the state of Ga. The state pays my tax money to a local public school board to educate (or warehouse) xyz student based on days that child attends school. Not the quality of that child’s education. By removing a child from the local public school the State’s payment for that student is also removed. Note the State pays “per child” not a lump sum. That child’s parents now have a choice of where to seek an education best suited to that child. By removing that child from the local Public School the State taxpayers have now saved money previously given to a local board based on that child’s attendance. The State takes that “saved” money and allows me a credit for only part of those funds. The State loses no money but allows me to spend my “Tax Credit” in a market that is competing for my dollars. The “Tax Credit” scholarship funds allow any student (not just rich kids) to seek a school best suited for them. This simple fact is why Public School Boards hate this program. It helps the ones who want an education and it leaves the rest as wards of the public schools. They call it intellect flight.

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agirl_25 1 year ago

It worked for me......I think it is a wonderful program....and it works for Grandparents too..thanks again ABY, for telling me about this.

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voxpopuli 1 year ago

Tuk, are you ready to give up your deductions because of contributions to the Boy Scouts and your church? The only difference between deductions and credits is the percentage.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

That is a fair question. I strongly believe that all deductions should be eliminated. Collect the revenue. Pay the bills and develop a fair tax base where each taxpayer does their part. Tax laws are so complicated they have generated an entire profession if not a commercial industry just to handle tax computation. A significant part of it is unnecessary and wasteful.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

What I don't understand about the call for tax reform or for a flat tax is this: If we are overspending by a trillion dollars per year.......there is no way the "makers" are going to avoid increasing the tax they pay. UNLESS the 50% of income earners who currently pay ZERO federal tax have to start paying some. Any way you cut it, somebody is going to have to pay MORE than they do now. Unless of course Congress and the President are going to reduce spending by forty cents on the dollar which ain't no way that's gone happen.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

I'm not sure about all of your numbers but I agree with your conclusion: " Any way you cut it, somebody is going to have to pay MORE (taxes). " And you can bet it will be the middle wage earners from $50K to $250K. That's where the docile fish are running and you can bet Congress and President will be using their nets on us. The waste and fraud in the American government is just horrendous and both parties are equally to blame.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

Fry you are right the tax code is not about fairness it is all about buying votes for the next election. The next wave of tax increaser won't come until AFTER the mid-term vote. Then hold on to your wallet cause they are coming for our money.

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agirl_25 1 year ago

Here, here, applause applause...I totally agree. I hope we don't end up like the poor dolphins caught in the tuna nets tho...sigh..but I am afraid we will. And how right you are about government waste and fraud. It is sickening and yes, both parties are responsible and share the blame equally.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

FT.....you should be aware....that my numbers...along with all my prophetic utterances.........are impeccable. My personal opinions....well they can be all over the map.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

Just to be clear ANYONE who pays taxes to the State of Ga. can use this program. You do not even have to have a child in a school. ANY child in a public school can apply to any private school and use these scholarships. This is the fastest and safest way to guarantee a quality education for a child today. It cost the taxpayers NOTHING. This is simply giving you control over how some of your tax money for education is spent. Several people on here have used this program to help their friends and family. If you have any questions feel free to email me @ the same name I use here but on Yahoo.com and I will try to help or direct you to the best help.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

Has the governor signed the bill? Please say no!

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agirl_25 1 year ago

According to the 2011 Georgia General Assembly Summary submitted by Shelley A. Senterfitt, Legislative Counsel on May 6, 2011 the bill passed. Gov. Deal signed it.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

" In the final hours of this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly, legislators late last week approved a bill (HB 283) . . ." Is this the same legislation, Agirl? You are noting a different date. In the final hours of this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly, legislators late last week approved a bill (HB 283)

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agirl_25 1 year ago

http://www.ledgernews.com/news/top_stories/session-addresses-ethics-budget-matters/article_e531cd0e-9bb0-11e2-8791-0019bb30f31a.html

The original bill (HB283), is mentioned in today's Cherokee Ledger News. It seems amendments have been made to the original HB283. If you will read further you will see that the GPA requirement has been lowered from 3.0 to 2.0. Hooray, now ASU can graduate even worse students. This is about the private school tax credit:

Two bills that dealt with the states’ private school tax credit program and requiring more transparency about how it operates failed but their language was included in HB 283 (a broad education funding bill), which did pass. Tax credits from the program are capped at $58 million, up from the $51 million in the original bill and down from the $80 million the House bill originally asked for.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

Abytaxpayer first comment: "This is a tax CREDIT which means it is 100% deducted from your tax liability to the state. (It cost you nothing) This is NOT a tax deduction that only give you part credit....Everyone who pays taxes in Ga. should take advantage of this program. For once you can control how your tax money is spent and not depend on the State to waste it. "

1. If the State doesn't need the money it should not be collecting (controlling) it. The best control of my money is when I get to keep it.

2. If the State needs the money and it is diverted as a credit to private schools then it leaves a hole in the budget that someone else, namely other taxpayers have to fill.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

FT I agree with you again.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

1.

The State has a responsiblity to educate the child of the State. The State has reconized in many cities around the state the local public schools are below sub-par. This bill has been in effect for several years and works very well to give parents who care about their kids to have a choice or leaving them in a system like DCSS was in the past or moving them to a private school. What this bill has done is give you some control over how your tax dollars for education are spent. It is your choice to let the State take all your tax dolars ear marked for education and give it to a poor preforming public school or you can choose to spend a part of your tax money on a school that is compeleting for your money. So youchoice is fund public school or fund a private school that knows you have the option to not fund them next year.

2.

The point you are missing is the money follows the students. If a student leaves public school by (a) moving out of state or (b) moving to a private school the state does not have to pay the local school for that student. What this bill does is incurage students who want to learn but are trapped in a bad school to move to a private school by provided a part of the money they collect as a scharlorship fund. There is no hole let by not funding the public school because the public school is only paid for students atending their school. The State budgets funds to public schools based on a head count only.

No matter what you do, the state is going to collect your tax dollar for education. You choices are between whether the State funds are sent to a public school or a private school. So no matter which side of public school education you fall on, YOU can direct your dollar to your side. (A) By doing nothing you fund a public school or (b) by jumping thru some hoops you can fund a private school. There is no hole left in public school funding because when you move your tax dollar you are defunding the school system when a student moves to a private school with your tax funded scholarship. Also note to prevent total evacuation of some public schools the State has a cap on the total amount for scholarship funds that can be used each year.

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agirl_25 1 year ago

I have no kids in school yet the majority of my property taxes go to the crummy schools in Sowega. Even with our exemptions and specialized and preferential assessment programs (because of the farm) we still have to pay a chunk so any time we can get tax credit of any kind we take it. To each his own tho, it is your call.

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