Kevin Carey MARCH 2, 2017
Steve Yarbrough is one of the most powerful men in Arizona. As president of the State Senate, he has promoted a range of conservative policies, including a tuition tax credit system that provides over $100 million per year to finance vouchers for private schools. In his speech to Congress this week, President Trump singled out a young woman who attended private school using a tax credit-financed voucher. The president urged Congress to pass legislation that would provide similar benefits to millions of students. But Mr. Yarbrough is not just a champion of tax credit vouchers. He also profits from them personally. The story of how that happened raises questions about President Trump's campaign promise to spend $20 billion to increase school choice.
The Arizona Christian School Tuition Or anization (Acsto) is one of the state's largest voucher-granting groups. From 2010 to 2014 (the latest year recorded in federal tax filings), the group received $72.9 million in donations, all of which were ultimately financed by the state. Arizona law allows the group to keep 10 percent of those donations to pay for overhead. In 2014, the group used that money to pay its executive director $125,000. His name? Steve Yarbrough.