A GOP backed bill that would have expanded taxpayer support for private and religious schools by $100 million, almost doubling the size of the current program, was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf today.
HB 800, which passed the state House and Senate with Republican support, would have increased Educational Improvement Tax Credit to $210 million annually, but Wolf believes the focus should be on funding public schools.
“Education is the cornerstone of democracy, and it is my job as the leader of this commonwealth to ensure fairness and accountability in our classrooms. House Bill 800 would pour funding into a program that lacks these two critical aspects,” Wolf said in a statement. “We have an accountable public education system in place that is underfunded. I have and I will continue to fight to fully fund Pennsylvania’s public schools.”
Just four Democrats in the state House voted for the bill, while no Democrats in the state Senate supported the legislation.
House Speaker Mike Turzai, who introduced the bill, believes expanding the program would have saved the state money.
Although the bill was shot down as we approach the final days before the budget deadline, a smaller increase for the program still may be on the table in budget talks.
We have an @GovernorTomWolf veto today. Wolf has vetoed House Speaker Mike Turzai’s bill that would have nearly doubled the state’s tax credits-for-private and other school scholarship gifts program. Probably still on table for a smaller increase in budget talks, I’m guessing.
— Charles Thompson (@ChasThompson1) June 18, 2019