Charter school groups criticize House-passed tax bill

National and local charter school groups criticized the tax cut bill the U.S. House passed earlier this month.

They say H.R. 1 will make it more expensive for charter schools to finance building projects. That’s because the bill would ban charter schools from using several tax credits and tax-free bonds to cover construction costs.

In Idaho’s case, three charter schools have started $25 million in projects over the past month. Without tax credits and tax-free bonds, the cost of these projects could double, the Idaho Charter School Network said in a statement Monday.

The Senate version of the tax bill preserves the credits.

“While not perfect, the Senate bill is better for Idaho public school students, and we are hopeful that the language protecting public charter schools access to tax-free bonds will prevail,” Idaho Charter School Network CEO Terry Ryan said Monday.

On Monday, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said the House-passed bill could prove “devastating” to charter schools.

H.R. 1 passed the House on Nov. 16, on a 227-205 vote. Idaho’s House members, Republicans Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, voted for the bill.

The charter school groups aren’t alone in criticizing the House-passed tax bill. In a guest opinion published Monday at idahoednews.org, state Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, called the bill “a roadmap for destroying working families.” Erpelding, the House’s minority leader, criticized the bill for eliminating the deduction for student loan interest, tuition tax waivers and a deduction for teachers who purchase classroom supplies for students.

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