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Snyder Wants To Know If Tax-Exempt Savings Can Be Used For Private School Tuition

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There could be a conflict between the new federal tax law and the Michigan Constitution.

As we hear from Capital Bureau Chief Rick Pluta, it deals with whether tax-exempt savings plans can be used for private school tuition.

The federal law allows it, but the Michigan Constitution says the state cannot directly or indirectly provide financial support to private and religious schools. That includes offering tax breaks.

So Governor Rick Snyder has asked for a legal opinion on whether plans like the state-sponsored, tax-exempt Michigan Education Savings Program can be used for private K-through-12 school tuition.

Tanya Baker is Snyder’s deputy press secretary.

“So these reforms have brought that question to light as to whether or not this violates the constitution.” Says Baker.

If Attorney General Bill Schuette says MESP accounts can be used for private school tuition, that could set the stage for a legal challenge by public school groups.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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