OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There are two education plans passed in both the House and Senate, and Governor Stitt said Friday he is not in favor of family income caps for the private school tax credit proposal.
“I believe in a free market system,” said Stitt, on Friday during his weekly press conference.
A private school tax credit originated with the House’s education bills.
Speaker Charles McCall proposed a $5,000 tax credit per child for parents sending their kids to private schools and there would be no family income cap.
But the Senate made an amendment to the bill, HB 1935, adding a family income cap of $250,000, while also increasing the tax credit per child to $7,500.
For example, if a family earning equal or less than $250,000 had one child going to private school and paid $5,000 in state taxes, using the $7,500 tax credit would result in a refund check worth $2,500.
The Governor acknowledged wealthier Oklahomans do not necessarily need the tax credit, but he doesn’t want a qualifying income cap.
“The rich folks already have school choice, they already have options,” said Stitt.
“I don’t think there should be an income limit because then that’s just – 100,000, 150 – whatever. Lets just simply open it up to all parents.”
Stitt said the focus of the tax credit is for parents looking to provide a new educational environment for their children.
“I’m thinking about the moms that are stuck in a zip code in Tulsa and during COVID their school was shutdown, where other schools were open,” said the Governor.
Education reform is now going through House committee work.
The Senate passed their amendments on the floor Thursday, sending HB1935 and HB2775 to the other chamber.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said the income cap for the private school tax credit was important to his Senate Republican colleagues.
“Income caps was one of the number one recommendations or requirements from my caucus members,” said Treat.
Speaker McCall said he’s open to negotiations, but not about the income cap.
“Anybody that’s a tax payer of the state has a choice with their children and by putting an income cap on the qualifier, that takes away choice for people,” said McCall.