House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, announced Thursday the formation of the official Private School Tuition Tax Credit Review Committee to review and assess the state's individual tax credit program for private schools.
"Tuition tax credits are very important to Arizonans, and they merit a formal House committee review process," Adams said in a news release. "This committee will review the impact of these tax credits and make recommendations for their future use."
The committee has been formed to ensure the application, administration and approval process for tax credits includes accountability measures for private student tuition organizations, the news release said. These organizations, also referred to as STOs, collect donations from taxpayers to use in awarding scholarships to students to attend private schools. Taxpayers receive a tax credit in exchange for their donation.
Adams' committee is the second legislative panel to be created since a Tribune investigation reported widespread abuse of the private school tax credit program. The Tribune series, Rigged Privilege, published in August, prompted Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, to establish a panel of five Democrats and three Republicans to review the program as well. Schapira's panel will hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in House Hearing Room 3 at the state Capitol.
While Schapira's panel was self-organized, the formal committee announced Thursday was appointed by Adams under House rules. Adams has assigned Rep. Rick Murphy, R-Glendale, as chairman of the committee. Other members include: Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert; Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale; Jack Brown, D-St. Johns; and Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff. The first meeting of the Private School Tuition Tax Credit Review Committee will be announced shortly, the release from Adams' office said.
The committee will produce a report on the tax credit issue by Dec. 15, which would include any necessary legislation for the 2010 legislative session.