House defeats bill that included school voucher provision | Arkansas Blog

House defeats bill that included school voucher provision


The House today failed to pass the state treasurer's office appropriation, which included a contoversial school voucher provision. The vote was 56-22 and 21 present or not voting, with 75 needed for passage.

The measure includes expanding the 529 college savings program to cover private school tuition in grades K-12. This mirrors, but also expands, on changes in federal tax law. It allows every person to get a tax deduction of $5,000 ($10,000 for a married couple filing separately on the same return) on state income taxes for money put into a savings account that can be then withdrawn to pay for private school tuition. There is no similar tax deduction at the federal level. It also allows the money to be tax-free as to earnings. One estimate put the cost to the treasury at $5 million a year — a transfer of money that otherwise would go to general revenue to private schools.

Sen. Jason Rapert has been the driving force behind the bill.

Here's the House roll call, with most resistance from Democrats. But Republicans were in the group voting present or not voting, all having the same impact as a no vote.

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