House passes expansion of Fla. voucher program, Commett, 3/8/12

posted Mar 9, 2012, 8:19 AM by Bill Duncan

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida House has passed an expansion of Florida's voucher program that lets low-income children attend private schools at taxpayer expense.

Wednesday's 92-24 vote sent the bill (HB 859) to the Senate.

The program is supported by business tax credits. It would raise a cap on the credits from $175 million to $229 million for the next budget year. After that it would go up 25 percent whenever credits approved in the prior budget year are equal to or greater than 90 percent of that year's cap.

Passage came after the House defeated a motion to also give such tax credits for contributions to public schools.

It also would allow vouchers for kindergarten through third grade students who qualify for free or reduced price lunches.

Nearly 35,000 students now participate.