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Whitmer vetoes bills to allow tax breaks for financial support to private schools

gretchen whitmer sitting at table

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed legislation Friday that would have allowed tax breaks for donations to funds to provide financial support to private schools.

The Republican-controlled Legislature sent bills to the Democratic governor that would have allowed tax-deductible donations to accounts set up to help lower-income families defray the costs of private and parochial school tuition.

Bobby Leddy is the governor’s press secretary. He said there should be room for consensus on things like expanding the availability of preschool and child care.

“Those are the things that she’s focused on and this bill doesn’t make that cut,” he said.

In her veto letter, Whitmer said the bills would turn private schools in Michigan into tax shelters for the wealthy.

“We know that schools still need the resources that they need. This is an attempt to go around the will of the people,” Leddy said.

Leddy also said the bill would violate the state Constitution’s ban on taxpayer money being used to directly or indirectly fund private schools.

“The Constitution requires that the state provide funding for public education and anything that seeks to go against that is undermining the Constitution, state law.”

A petition drive could soon start gathering signatures to adopt an initiative to enact a similar law that could not be vetoed.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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