Georgia has a program whereby taxpayers can receive a break on their income taxes by contributing to organizations which offer academic scholarships to attend private schools to students who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend. The program is so hugely popular that the state is having to turn down and in effect refund nearly $6 million to people who donated to the program last year.
The lure of receiving a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions made to support scholarships for public school kids seeking a private school education had more people donating faster than ever. When the $50 million cap on tax credits was reached for the first time, taxpayers who missed the approval window could no longer participate.
State Department of Revenue officials said this week it rejected the applications of 2,764 taxpayers seeking tax credits for $5.7 million they hoped to contribute in 2011.
As you can imagine this program is not exactly a big hit with the government schools.
Critics say the program gives public money to private schools without any accountability for how funds are spent and whether kids are improving academically.
“This program is entirely unaccountable to taxpayers,” Steve Suitts, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation, a nonpartisan group focused on the education of low-income and minority students, said. “Every dollar that is used by the tax credit program in support of private schools is money that could have gone to public schools or to other public uses.”
The Southern Education Foundation is nonpartisan in much the same that Media Matters for America is nonpartisan. They seem more upset about taxpayers sending their dollars to organizations they support rather then to the giant pig slop trough of the government. Talk about a group unaccountable to the taxpayers.