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May 17 2010

BOASTing Rights in Maryland

Vicki E. Alger

A new study from the Foundation for Educational Choice finds that the proposed

Building Opportunities for all Students and Teachers (BOAST) tax-credit program would expand education options for Maryland families, help promote innovative public-school programs, and generate fiscal savings. The BOAST program would allow businesses to take tax credits for donations made to organizations that provide private-school scholarships. Businesses could also claim tax credits for contributions to organizations that support innovative public-school programs in Maryland. Under BOAST, tax credits would be worth 75 percent of businesses' donations, with total donations capped at a set annual amount. Among the study's key findings:

•  If two-thirds of the scholarships awarded go to public-school students and their average value is between $1,500 and $2,500, BOAST will generate state savings of more than $133 million over 10 years.

•  If 80 percent of scholarships are awarded to public-school students, then net state savings could be as high as $267 million over 10 years, depending on the average value of scholarships.

•· If all scholarships are awarded to public school students, then savings can be as high as $472 million over 10 years.

•   In no scenario does the BOAST plan hurt local school districts fiscally.

As with all other tax-credit scholarship programs in existence today (including those in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island), only a portion of Maryland public schools' state education aid is reduced when a student receives a scholarship and leaves a local district. The majority of funding remains with the school district and is dispersed among a smaller student population, increasing a schools' per-pupil funding. And, once students transfer their previous schools no longer bear the cost of educating them. At a time when most states are facing budget shortfalls, programs like Maryland's BOAST plan would be a win-win for students, schools, and taxpayers.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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