The state Senate closed the book June 1 on tax credits for families that send students to private schools.

The Senate refused to go along with the Maine House on LD 1092 that would have provided up to $1,000 off their state income taxes for individuals or couples — with a gross income of $50,000 or less — to offset the cost of tuition at a private school in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Senate rejected the bill on May 25 but the Maine House voted for the measure on May 31. The bill then went back to the Senate on June 1 and senators were given an opportunity to reconsider and concur with the House.

The Senate, however, voted 21-14 against concurring with the House.

The Midcoast’s three Republican state senators were divided on the matter. Sen. Christopher Rector of Thomaston voted against the bill. Sens. A. David Trahan and Michael Thibodeau voted to keep the tax credit bill alive.

The House had voted 75-67 for the tax credit.

Voting for the private school tax credit locally were Republican Reps. Wes Richardson of Warren, Dana Dow of Waldoboro, Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, and Jonathan McKane of Newcastle.

Voting against the bill were Democratic Reps. Edward Mazurek of Rockland, Chuck Kruger of Thomaston, Joan Welsh of Rockport, Andrew O’Brien of Lincolnville, and Walter Kumiega III of Deer Isle.

Sanderson said parents are already paying for public schools through their property taxes.

“If they choose to send their children to a private school, they also pay the tuition for that school on top of that. This tax credit helps to ease some of the cost,” Sanderson said.

Kruger said he voted no because he opposes taking money from public schools to support private and religious schools.

Welsh said there are such limited dollars right now for public education that she does not think it’s a good idea to add state taxpayer dollars for private institutions.

“Our priorities should be for our tax-supported public education that is available for all our children,” Welsh said.

Kumiega said there is no accountability regarding the quality of the education in the private schools. He also argued that the tax credit was non-refundable, so parents that need it the most would be ineligible or receive only a partial credit.

“I won’t support legislation that makes the income divide bigger,” Kumiega said.