Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer vetoes voucher-style education bills 

By: - November 8, 2021 12:40 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives her DNC address, Aug. 17, 2020 | Julia Picket photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed Friday a number of bills that would give tax credits to Michiganders who contribute to a scholarship program for non-public schools.

House bills 5404 and 5405 and Senate Bills 687 and 688 would have created Michigan Opportunity Scholarship accounts for families to use on education or learning expenses and tax credits for corporations to make tax-deductible contributions to private schools for student tuition. 

“Simply put, our schools cannot provide the high-quality education our kids deserve if we turn private schools into tax shelters for the wealthy. The movement to privatize education in this state has been a catastrophic failure, causing Michigan students to fall behind the rest of the nation,” Whitmer wrote in her veto letter. 

Whitmer said the legislation could cost the state as much as $500 million in 2022.  

Last week, a GOP group, Let MI Kids Learn, launched a ballot drive to create a school voucher-style system that would use public tax dollars to fund private education. 

The group would need to collect 340,000 signatures, then the GOP-controlled Legislature can choose to approve the ballot question rather than put it on the ballot for voters to decide.  Either way, Whitmer is unable to veto.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.