Although the Minnesota state legislature appropriated no money to inform low-income families about the state’s education tax credit program, well more than half of the 102,500 eligible families are taking advantage of it, according to an analysis of the first half of the state’s income tax returns. The amount of the credit claimed is almost double what had been anticipated, $365 vs. $200.
“These figures demonstrate that low-income families in Minnesota are eager to make choices that meet their children’s educational needs, if given the opportunity,” said an obviously pleased Morgan Brown, executive director of Partnership for Choice in Education, an outreach group. “The opponents of choice, who said low-income families either wouldn’t want the choices or wouldn’t be able to come up with the money, were wrong,” Brown added.
Former governor Arne Carlson, whose veto of the state budget forced legislators to reconsider and finally approve the 1997 tax credit legislation, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the first years of other tax programs, including the property tax rebate program, typically didn’t have full participation.
According to Brown, the Partnership for Choice in Education plans to continue its aggressive “Take Credit for LearningK” public outreach effort to provide information about the program to eligible families. Minnesotans for School Choice will continue to fight for the inclusion of private school tuition in the tax credit.