More oversight sought for Pa.’s education tax credit program

    A left-leaning think tank is skeptical of the governor’s plan to expand the state’s Education Improvement Tax Credit program without more closely watching money and academic performance.

    The EITC initiative gives tax credits to businesses that fund private school scholarships and public school extracurricular programs.

    Stephen Herzenberg, who runs the Keystone Research Center, said there is no meaningful financial or education accountability built into it.

    “There’s a certain amount of self-reporting of how money is used, or the number of scholarships given out, but it’s very, very basic information on the financial side,” he said. “Accountability was pretty much paper-thin, is one way to put it.”

    State Rep. Jim Christiana, a proponent of expanding EITC, said businesses should be responsible for donating to schools they think use their money wisely.

    He said concerns about financial accountability are unwarranted.

    “I think the responsibility comes from the donors,” he said. “You know, do the donors feel like the people that are contributing to these funds, do they feel like the money’s being spent responsibly?

    The state earmarks $75 million for EITC and Governor Tom Corbett has called for an increase in that funding as part of his education reform plan.

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