TFN PRESIDENT: TAX CREDIT VOUCHERS ARE A RACKET THAT BENEFITS CORPORATIONS BUT NOT KIDS

by TFN Insider

TFN PRESIDENT: TAX CREDIT VOUCHERS ARE A RACKET THAT BENEFITS CORPORATIONS BUT NOT KIDS

Evidence in Other States Shows Tax Credit Schemes Don’t Benefit Students They Were Intended to Help

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2012

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller responded today to news that Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, are considering a program that provides tax credits to corporate donors that subsidize tuition at private and religious schools:

“Tax credits are just a backdoor voucher scheme that diverts tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools. Evidence in other states shows that these tax credits are a racket. They provide a big tax loophole for corporations and often benefit mostly well-to-do families with kids already in private schools while shortchanging our kids in public schools.”

An independent report in Georgia found evidence suggesting that most students receiving the tax credit scholarships in 2009 had already been attending private schools.

– “A Failed Experiment: Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarships for Private Schools,” The Southern Education Foundation

Private schools in Georgia worked to direct tax credit donations to scholarships for the children of donors – including students already attending their schools – rather than to children from poor families seeking to move from a public schools. Under a provision of the Georgia statute, in fact, students already attending a private school need only “enroll” (but not necessarily attend) a public school to become eligible for a tax credit-funded scholarship.
“Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools,” New York Times, May 21, 2012

Two of Pennsylvania’s largest scholarship organizations are controlled by lobbyists, and they frequently ask lawmakers to help decide which schools get the money, according to interviews. The arrangement provides a potential opportunity for corporate donors seeking to influence legislators and also gives the lobbying firms access to both lawmakers and potential new clients.
“Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools,” New York Times, May 21, 2012

A cottage industry of organizations makes money by soliciting tax credit donations and then helping private schools decide which students get the scholarships. That model gives the schools – rather than families – the real choices.
“Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools,” New York Times, May 21, 2012

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan public education and religious liberties watchdog based in Austin.

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