JUNEAU — A bill introduced in the Alaska Senate this week proposes tax credits for Alaskans who give money to most schools in the state.
SB89, by Sen. Mike Dunleavy, would give taxpayers a credit if they donate money for “educational support purposes” at public, private nonprofit and religious elementary and secondary schools. Alaskans could still get credits for donations allowed under current law, such as to universities and native corporations.
“I would like to incentive business to become part of supporting all kinds of initiatives and outfits,” Dunleavy said. “I think public-private partnerships are part of the fabric of this country and this state, and they should be — in my opinion — they should be supported.”
The bill increases the limit on the total amount that may count as a tax credit from $5 million to $25 million per taxpayer, according to Dunleavy’s office. The bill was referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.
Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, said he views this bill as an appropriate vehicle for vouchers — if there were to be vouchers — because it doesn’t allocate public money, and it’s up to the donor to decide where the money goes.
Dunleavy has separately proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private schools. Critics have said SJR9 could open the door to vouchers, but Dunleavy has said that he does not support direct funding for religious or private schools.
He has said that he proposed SJR9 so that funds for learning plans for students attending correspondence schools could be used for classes or tutoring at private institutions.