Since the release of the Universal Tuition Tax Credit in November 1997, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy continues to strengthen the original proposal by incorporating revisions based on input from school choice organizations, legislators, and education experts in Michigan and across the country. The following changes represent an effort to create the most viable and effective school choice proposal.

  1. Increase the maximum first-year credit from ten percent to fifty percent of the average amount public schools receive to educate each child for families with income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and keep it at the maximum thereafter (If the state foundation grant is $6,000, then the credit for low-income families would increase from $600 to $3,000 dollars in the first year). This both increases the amount of funds immediately available compared to the original plan, and also extends this increase to more low-income families than the original plan which provided special consideration to families with income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

  2. Permit the legislature to increase the maximum credit amount in any year to provide additional funds for Special Education students or for any other purpose.

  3. Permit the legislature to provide tax credits for home school parents, textbooks, transportation, or other related purposes.

Revised School Choice Amendment Language
(See pages 36-37 of Universal Tuition Tax Credit study)

No public monies or property shall be appropriated or paid or any public credit utilized, by the legislature or any other political subdivision or agency of the state directly or indirectly to aid or maintain any private, denominational or other nonpublic, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school. No payment, credit, tax benefit, exemption or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan of public monies or property shall be provided, directly or indirectly, to support the attendance of any student or the employment of any person at any such nonpublic school or at any location or institution where instruction is offered in whole or in part to such nonpublic school students. The legislature may provide for the transportation of students to and from any school.

TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION BY EMPOWERING PARENTS WITH GREATER FREEDOM TO CHOOSE THE BEST AND SAFEST SCHOOLS THAT MEET THE INDIVIDUAL NEEDS OF THEIR CHILDREN, IT IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED THAT:

AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION, THERE SHALL BE A CREDIT AGAINST AMOUNTS PAYABLE UNDER THE STATE INCOME TAX, THE STATE SINGLE BUSINESS TAX, THE STATE EDUCATION TAX, OR ANY SUCCESSOR TAXES, AND OTHER TAXES AS PROVIDED BY LAW TO ANY PERSON FOR PAYMENTS MADE BY THE PERSON FOR TUITION FOR EDUCATION FOR ANY RESIDENT CHILD ATTENDING A PUBLIC OR NONPUBLIC ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN THIS STATE.

A CONTRIBUTION TO A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION SHALL QUALIFY FOR THE CREDIT AT THE TIME THAT 100 PERCENT OF THE CONTRIBUTION IS DISBURSED BY THE ORGANIZATION AS TUITION FOR INDIVIDUAL PUPILS PURSUANT TO THE LIMITATIONS OF THIS SECTION.

THE TAX CREDIT PER PUPIL FOR TUITION PAYMENTS FOR A PUPIL WHOSE FAMILY INCOME IS AT OR BELOW 150 PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL SHALL BE 50 PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE STATE AND LOCAL PER PUPIL REVENUE FOR SCHOOL OPERATING PURPOSES FOR PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS OR 100 PERCENT OF THE ACTUAL TUITION PAID, WHICHEVER IS LESS.

THE TAX CREDIT PER PUPIL FOR OTHER PUPILS SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE LESSER OF THE MAXIMUM CREDIT ESTABLISHED IN THIS SECTION OR 80 PERCENT OF THE ACTUAL TUITION PAID. THE MAXIMUM CREDIT PER PUPIL PERMITTED IN THE STATE FISCAL YEAR FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS AMENDMENT SHALL BE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO TEN PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE STATE AND LOCAL PER PUPIL REVENUE FOR SCHOOL OPERATING PURPOSES FOR PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS. FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR THEREAFTER THE MAXIMUM CREDIT SHALL INCREASE OVER THE PRIOR YEAR BY AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO AN ADDITIONAL FIVE PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE STATE AND LOCAL PER PUPIL REVENUES, UNTIL THE MAXIMUM CREDIT AMOUNT PER PUPIL IS EQUAL TO FIFTY PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE STATE AND LOCAL PER PUPIL REVENUE.

THE LEGISLATURE MAY IN ANY YEAR INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF THE CREDIT APPLICABLE TO PUPILS WHO REQUIRE SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES, OR FOR ANY OTHER PUPILS AS THE LEGISLATURE DEEMS APPROPRIATE.

THE LEGISLATURE SHALL PROVIDE BY LAW FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SECTION.

LIMITATION ON STATE REGULATION OF NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS

THE LEGISLATURE SHALL NOT ADOPT ANY LAW IMPOSING REGULATIONS ON NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS OR THEIR PUPILS OR TEACHERS IN ADDITION TO THOSE IN EFFECT ON NOVEMBER 7, 2000, EXCEPT BY A VOTE OF TWO-THIRDS OF THE MEMBERS ELECTED TO AND SERVING IN EACH HOUSE.