Application For Parent Choice Tax Credit Opens After Delay

The application was supposed to open last Friday, but the Tax Commission said they experienced “some obstacles” saying that some parents hadn’t received their enrollment forms in time to apply.

Wednesday, December 6th 2023, 4:50 pm

The application for the parent choice tax credits officially opened Wednesday afternoon. Parents who choose to send their kids to private school can apply for up to $7,500 to cover tuition, or other education expenses. 

Some lawmakers are still raising concerns about the process, and delay from the Tax Commission on rolling out the program.

“Things just take time and there was a short timeline where they had to do this and now here we are,” said House Minority Leader, Cyndi Munson. “I think what it highlights the most is why this process or this program doesn't work. At the end of the day it's our job as lawmakers to appropriate public money to public schools."

The application was supposed to open last Friday, but the Tax Commission said they experienced “some obstacles” saying that some parents hadn’t received their enrollment forms in time to apply.

The Tax Commission posted a statement to their website saying, “The decision to delay the application start date was not made lightly. Despite being disappointed with the delay, we believe this adjustment is necessary to establish a “fair playing field” for all Taxpayers, since having the Enrollment Verification Form is a required part of the application process.”

“We raised our concerns about whether or not the OTC would actually be capable or equipped to actually administer the program,” said Rep. Munson.

Munson has raised concerns about the tax credits since they were introduced during the last session. She says those concerns have only continued.

“It is costing all of us as taxpayers more money than what was anticipated,” said Munson.

The legislature appropriated $1 million for the Tax Commission to roll out the program, who is paying an outside company called Merit, an additional $3 million to actually administer the program. 

Munson says it’s still unclear where the additional $3 million is coming from, but says that will likely be taken from other Tax Commission services, or be taken out of the overall appropriation for the credits.

“It is not our job to fund private education and then figure out a process for those who can already send their kids to private school,” said Munson.

Munson says lawmakers should spend more time putting public dollars into public schools.

“I would much rather spend time focused on that, than how to fix a program that's only beneficial to a very small group of Oklahoma families,” said Munson.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said in a statement he was agitated by the delay, adding “The Tax Commission must do whatever they can to provide parents and their children the best path forward.”

Governor Stitt, who has three children in private school, told the Oklahoma Watch he plans to apply for the credit, saying “Everybody knows what my salary is as the state of Oklahoma governor. Every bit helps.”

The governor's office told us today: “The Governor encourages all Oklahoma families to apply for the tax credit. He did say he would, but after talking to his wife, they decided to not apply and make sure other Oklahoma families have the opportunity to get the credit.”

Over 140 schools have signed up to be part of the Parental Choice Tax Credit program. Parents can get between $5,000 - $7,500 per-child, to pay for tuition, supplies or other approved education expenses.

The credits will be given on priority basis, and will be capped at a total of $150 million for 2023.

For additional information, or to apply for the credit, click here.


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