$100M private schools bill starts Pa. budget season fight

Pennsylvania's Capitol Building in Harrisburg (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania))

Legislation to substantially expand taxpayer support by $100 million for private and religious schools is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, although he's signaling that he'll block it.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill Tuesday on a party-line basis, ramping up a fight between supporters of public and private schools in the thick of budget negotiations.

It's sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai and passed the Republican-controlled House last month on a near-party line basis.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is criticizing it, saying public schools are underfunded and the bill is at odds with the need for accessible public education.

It would nearly double the Educational Improvement Tax Credit to $210 million annually. The program lets corporations direct tens of millions in tax dollars to favored private and religious schools.