Tax credits for public schools

A temporary tax credit for public schools in Georgia could become permanent with new legislation in the state House of Representatives.

The income tax subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 728. The bill seeks to remove the 3-year sunset on a 2017 law that established a tax credit program capped at $5 million annually. The money is for public schools on a competitive basis, with priority given to those on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement’s persistently low-performing list. Those schools are eligible for intervention under the state’s new “turnaround” program.

Lobbyists for the Georgia School Boards Association and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the bill, which now goes to the full Ways and Means Committee. Chief sponsor Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, said after the hearing that the schools on that list are struggling and in need of money. “It’s a no-brainer,” said the lawmaker, who is chairman of the House Education Committee.

The tax credit allows a reduction on taxes owed the state equal to the amount of money a taxpayer puts into the program, up to $1,000 per person, $2,500 per couple and $10,000 per member, partner or shareholder of an “S” corporation.

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