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State House may consider bills to expand tax free education savings accounts this week

Feb 12, 2018

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state House may vote this week on a package of bills that would expand the state’s college savings program to include some K through 12 expenses.

Michigan’s Education Saving Program was created to help families save for college, with tax-free accounts.  

But the proposed changes would allow money to be spent on primary and secondary school costs, including some expenses at non-public schools.

Democratic lawmaker Adam Zemke thinks that’s a bad idea.

“The public does not support the idea around public dollars being utilized as vouchers essentially,” says Zemke.

But a majority of Republican state lawmakers do. 

Republican lawmaker Tim Kelly would eventually like to see parents be able to use the tax-free accounts to pay for tuition at private schools.

“We’d need a constitutional amendment to do that,” says Kelly. “I think more and more parents would like that option.  How soon we ever get there is another question.”

The package of bills has already passed the state senate.  Last week, the bills passed the House Education Reform Committee on straight party line votes.