Maine LD 1299: An Act To Allow Educational Access for Families

LD 1299 (subjects: EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS , SCHOOL CHOICE )

Official bill page at mainelegislature.org: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1299&PID=1456&snum=127


Sponsors | Actions | Bill Text | Patterns of Support


Sponsors

Principal Sponsor: Rep. Roger Sherman of Hodgdon: (R – District 144) — e-mail | Facebook

0 Cosponsors:

Actions

Chamber

Action
4/9/2015 House Committee on Taxation suggested and ordered printed.
The Bill was REFERRED to the Committee on TAXATION.
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
4/9/2015 Senate On motion by Senator McCormick of Kennebec, REFERRED to the Committee on Taxation, in concurrence.
6/1/2015 Senate Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3 Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD)

Bill Text

.

An Act To Allow Educational Access for Families

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA 5815 is enacted to read:

5815. Scholarship granting organization

1. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

A. “Educational scholarship” means a grant to an eligible student to pay for part or all of the tuition and fees at a qualified school, including transportation to a qualified school outside of the school administrative unit in which that eligible student resides.
B. “Eligible student” means a student who:

(1) Is a dependent in a household in which the annual household income the year immediately prior to receiving an educational scholarship is equal to or below 250% of the nonfarm income official poverty line that is applicable to a family of the size involved, as defined by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and updated annually in the Federal Register under authority of 42 United States Code, Section 9902(2);

(2) Is enrolled in a qualified school, was eligible to attend a public school the preceding semester or is starting school for the first time in this State; and

(3) Is a resident of this State while receiving an educational scholarship.

A student who meets the requirements of subparagraph (1) and who receives an educational scholarship remains an eligible student regardless of household income until the student is graduated from secondary school or attains 21 years of age, whichever occurs first. For purposes of this paragraph, “household income” has the same meaning as in Title 36, section 6201, subsection 7.

C. “Private school” means an academy, seminary, institute or other private corporation or body formed for educational purposes covering kindergarten to grade 12 or any portion thereof that:

(1) Is located in this State; and

(2) Satisfies the requirements prescribed by the laws of this State for private schools.

D. “Qualified school” means a private school or a public school.
E. “Scholarship granting organization” means a charitable organization in this State pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 501(c)(3) that provides educational scholarships to eligible students using voluntary contributions, a portion of which are eligible for the tax credit under Title 36, section 5219-NN.

2. Duties of scholarship granting organization. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, a scholarship granting organization, in addition to the requirements of subsections 3 and 4, shall:

A. Allocate at least 90% of its annual revenue from contributions for educational scholarships and 100% of its income from interest on or investments of that revenue for educational scholarships;
B. Provide educational scholarships to an eligible student up to a maximum of $3,500 for a school year and provide educational scholarships to a family with more than one eligible student up to a maximum of $7,000 for a school year;
C. Ensure that first-time recipients of educational scholarships were not continuously enrolled in a private school during the year prior to receiving the educational scholarship;
D. Provide educational scholarships to eligible students without limiting availability of those scholarships to students of a specific qualified school;
E. Demonstrate its financial accountability to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services by submitting an annual financial information report for the scholarship granting organization that complies with uniform financial accounting standards established by the bureau. The annual financial information report must be completed by a certified public accountant and certified by the State Tax Assessor as free of material misstatements; and
F. Demonstrate its financial viability, if the scholarship granting organization expects to receive donations of $50,000 or more during the usual school year, by filing with the department prior to the start of the usual school year:

(1) A surety bond payable to the State in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of contributions expected to be received during the usual school year; or

(2) Financial information that demonstrates the financial viability of the scholarship granting organization.

3. Reporting to department. A scholarship granting organization using voluntary cash contributions eligible for the tax credit provided pursuant to Title 36, section 5219-NN shall report annually by August 1st to the department, in a form prescribed by the department:

A. The name, address and contact name of the scholarship granting organization;
B. The total number of contributions received during the previous calendar year;
C. The total dollar amount of contributions received during the previous calendar year;
D. The total number of students awarded educational scholarships during the previous calendar year;
E. The total dollar amount of educational scholarships awarded during the previous calendar year; and
F. For each school attended by students receiving educational scholarships during the previous calendar year:

(1) The name and address of the school;

(2) The number of educational scholarships awarded during the previous calendar year; and

(3) The total dollar amount of educational scholarships awarded during the previous calendar year.

4. Reporting to contributors. A scholarship granting organization using voluntary cash contributions provided pursuant to Title 36, section 5219-NN shall provide to each contributor annually by January 31st information regarding the amount of voluntary contributions made by the contributor that are eligible for the credit provided pursuant to Title 36, section 5219-NN.
5. Certification by department. The department shall annually certify to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services those organizations that qualify as scholarship granting organizations pursuant to this section.
6. Rulemaking. The department shall adopt routine technical rules, as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A, to implement the provisions of this section.

Sec. 2. 36 MRSA 5219-NN is enacted to read:

5219-NN. Scholarship granting organization credit

1. Credit allowed. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, a taxpayer is allowed a credit in the amount of voluntary cash contributions made by the taxpayer during the taxable year to a scholarship granting organization, as certified by the Department of Education pursuant to Title 20-A, section 5815, subsection 5, up to a maximum amount of $1,000 annually.
2. Conditions. The credit allowed under subsection 1 is subject to the following conditions.

A. Any part of a voluntary cash contribution that is used to reduce the taxpayer’s Maine income tax liability except as provided in this section is ineligible for the credit provided pursuant to this section.
B. The tax credit is not allowed for an educational scholarship provided to an eligible student for tuition or expenses paid to a school that employs as a staff or board member of that school a member of or immediate family member of a member of the scholarship granting organization.

For purposes of this paragraph, “immediate family member” means a person’s spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister, brother, stepparent, stepgrandparent, stepchild, stepgrandchild, stepsister, stepbrother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, guardian, former guardian or domestic partner.

3. Limitation; carry-forward. The credit under this section may not reduce the tax otherwise due under this Part to less than 50% of that tax, after the allowance for all other credits. A taxpayer entitled to a credit under this section for any taxable year may carry over and apply to the tax liability for any one or more of the next succeeding 3 taxable years the portion, as reduced from year to year, of any unused credits.
4. Review or audit by bureau; penalties. If the bureau has a reasonable belief that a scholarship granting organization has failed to comply with the requirements of Title 20-A, section 5815, the bureau may conduct a financial review or an audit of that scholarship granting organization. If the bureau determines that the scholarship granting organization has intentionally and substantially failed to comply with the requirements of Title 20-A, section 5815, the bureau may bar the scholarship granting organization from participating in the credit. Upon taking such action, the bureau shall notify the Department of Education, which shall notify affected students as soon as practicable.
5. Rulemaking. The bureau shall adopt routine technical rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A to implement the provisions of this section, including:

A. A method to monitor payments by scholarship granting organizations to qualified schools and eligible students; and
B. A standardized receipt for use by a scholarship granting organization to provide proof of contribution by a taxpayer for use by that taxpayer in claiming the credit under this section.

Sec. 3. Application. This Act applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016.

summary

This bill establishes a scholarship granting organization credit to provide a Maine income tax credit to individuals and corporations who donate to scholarship granting organizations beginning in the 2016 tax year. Scholarship granting organizations are defined as organizations that provide educational scholarships, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, to public or private school students in kindergarten to grade 12 who are from households in which the household incomes are equal to or below 250% of the income guidelines used to qualify for federal Department of Health and Human Services programs.

The amount of the credit is the amount of voluntary cash contributions made to a scholarship granting organization, up to a maximum of $1,000 annually of the tax owed. Scholarship granting organizations that receive such contributions are subject to reporting requirements. The credit is not available for an educational scholarship provided to a student who attends a school that employs a paid staff or board member who is a member or an immediate family member of a member of the scholarship granting organization.

Patterns of Support

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Region:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Gender:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Party:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Campaign Finance Classification:

Note: Maine Clean Elections Act (MCEA) Qualified candidates only accept a small dollar value of initial contributions early in their campaigns, pledge not to accept further campaign contributions from private sources, and receive public funding for their campaigns. MCEA Non-Qualified candidates choose not to obtain public funding and instead are free to accept campaign contributions from individuals, party committees, political action committees and business sources.


This information about LD 1299 was last updated on 2016-05-12.
The Open Maine Politics website is in a beta release and results should not be taken as definitive. Please visit the official website of the Maine State Legislature for entirely verifiable information.

Be the first to comment on "Maine LD 1299: An Act To Allow Educational Access for Families"

Leave a comment

Democracy thrives on participation; please share your thoughts!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published.


*