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Action To Be Sought on Tax-Credit Bill

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In coming weeks, the Reagan Administration will try to move its tuition tax-credit bill through the Senate by attaching it as a rider to another piece of legislation that has a good chance of being passed, educators and Senate sources say.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the Administration's bill, S528, last May, but the Republican leadership in the Senate has been reluctant to push for a full Senate vote, for fear that it would be defeated.

That bill, introduced by Sen. Robert J. Dole, Republican of Kansas, would permit tax credits of up to $100 in 1983, $200 in 1984, and $300 thereafter for parents with children in nonpublic schools. The credits would equal, but not exceed, one-half of tuition costs for each child.

Administration officials are urging Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, to include the bill as a rider to S1285, the Senate version of the mathematics and science legislation before the Congress, according to a Senate aide.

The mathematics and science bill will reportedly be considered by the full Senate by the end of this month; Mr. Hatch is to be its floor manager.

However, Mr. Hatch is resisting such a maneuver, the aide said, adding that the Senator "doesn't want to turn the math-science bill into a Christmas tree." If Senator Hatch does not include the tuition tax-credit provision in the math-science bill when it is brought to the floor of the Senate, the Administration will have try to find another Senator to do so, according to the Senate aide.

President Reagan outlined the new strategy in a speech to 27 representatives of organizations that support tuition tax credits at a White House meeting Sept. 16. At the 30-minute meeting, Mr. Reagan assured those present that "he was doing everything he could" in support of tax-credit legislation, according to one participant, Sister Renee Oliver, associate director of Citizens for Educational Freedom.

Mr. Reagan reiterated his support for tuition tax credits publicly last week in a speech at the University of South Carolina, where he was awarded an honorary degree. He also repeated his support for a constitutional amendment allowing prayer in schools and merit pay for public-school teachers.--tt

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