Alabama Legislature rejects tax break for private school tuition

Update: Gov. Kay Ivey signed HB 251 into law on March 22 – without the language that would have cost public schools millions of dollars a year. Thank you to all the Arise members and everyone else who helped protect education funding in Alabama!

Great news, y’all: Arise members just helped save millions of dollars a year for Alabama’s public schools! A few weeks ago, we sounded the alarm about HB 251, sponsored by Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. At that time, the bill included language that would have allowed Alabamians to use education savings accounts known as 529 plans to receive a state income tax break on money used for K-12 private school tuition.

Hundreds of Arise members sprang into action. They flooded the Senate with emails and phone calls opposing this misguided plan to turn 529 plans – originally designed to encourage long-term college savings – into vehicles to subsidize private schools at the expense of public education.

This proposal had been speeding toward enactment – but Arise members helped stop it in its tracks. This week, the Senate amended HB 251 to remove the provisions that would have created a tax break for private school tuition. The House agreed to that change Thursday and sent the bill to Gov. Kay Ivey – without the language that would have cost the Education Trust Fund millions of dollars a year.

This win for public schools across our state couldn’t have happened without our members. It was proof once again that when everyday folks speak up together for what’s right, we can get results. Thank you so much to all of you who helped defeat this proposal, and to all of you who continue to support Arise’s work to build a better Alabama for all.

By Kimble Forrister, executive director. Posted March 16, 2018. Updated March 22, 2018.