State lawmaker looks to offer tax credits to offset school pay-to-play fees
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Back to school season means some extra expenses.
But right now, there is a lawmaker trying to give financial relief to parents who have kids in extra-curricular activities.
Political Reporter Nick Minock joins us with the story to explain what kind of tax break lawmakers are looking at.
There used to be a time when most schools didn't charge participation fees to play sports like basketball.
But did you know more than half of school districts charge participation fees for sports?
Lawmakers say it's true, and the sports fees aren't stopping there.
If you have a kid in sports, chances are you pay to play.
Schools are also charging kids to participate in band and robotics. Why?
Well, for some schools, it's partly to do with declining enrollment and local budget cuts.
Pay-to-play fees and ticket sales account for 50% of athletic budgets for some schools. But parents are feeling the crunch.
"They are very active," said Michigan mom Yaumara Bronca.
Bronca is raising two young boys who love sports.
"I would say soccer for the little one. And I would say baseball for the big one," she said.
She tells us she is worried about the pay-to-play fees her local schools charge.
"Yes, it is too much! Especially if you have more than one. It would be nice to get some money back somehow," she said.
That's the idea State Rep. Pete Lucido has.
"Parents don't have the money. If you are looking at three children, to be paying $200 per student per activity," he said.
Lucido's bill would give tax credits to parents so they can reclaim the money they spent.
Some school districts would prefer more money from the state budget, but Lucido says he'd rather not do that.
"It's a much easier fix if we give them the credit--and those would be the families--because I came to Lansing to put the families first," he said.
While some school districts don't feel like the bill is a slam dunk, this mom gives the tax break a thumbs up.
"That would be perfect," Bronca said.
Let's say you have three students in two activities each, and let's further say your school charges $200 per student per activity. That means you are forking up $1,200 a year just so your kids can play.
If his bill passes, Lucido says parents could reclaim all that money on their income taxes.