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      Catholics backing school-choice initiative in Missouri

      Entities affiliated with the Roman Catholic church have contributed more than $300,000 toward a Missouri ballot initiative that would authorize state tax credits benefiting private schools. Records at the state Ethics Commission show the group Missourians for Children's Education was established this past week to support the potential 2014 ballot initiative. It was launched with a $300,000 contribution from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and more than $11,000 from the Missouri Catholic Conference. The initiative would allow a 50 percent tax credit for businesses and individuals who donate to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships for children to attend private schools or that provide financial aid for public school programs. Up to $90 million of tax credits would be allowed annually.