Voucher advocates – those who would siphon state tax dollars for tuition to be paid to private schools – haven’t made many headlines in Texas in recent years, but they haven’t given up. One of their latest ideas calls for the Legislature to create a franchise tax credit to fund scholarships enabling parents, who are unhappy with their kids’ current public schools, to transfer them to other schools, public or private.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, has an article promoting the idea on its webpage. The article says 10 other states already have similar programs.
As envisioned for Texas, a “tax credit scholarship program” would be funded with donations from businesses. Businesses could make donations directly to any nonprofit, scholarshipgranting organization they chose and receive a credit against the franchise tax. The organizations would then provide scholarships to public school students for private school tuition, transportation costs to attend a different public school or even for home school instruction.
Call it what they want, folks, this is a first cousin (or closer) to a private school voucher program. The franchise tax already falls about $4.5 billion a year short of paying for the school property tax cuts that Gov. Perry and the Legislature ordered in 2006. Lawmakers have no business diverting more money from that already insufficient revenue source to boost the profits of private school owners.
We need to increase resources for the public schools, not steal from them. The public schools – not private schools or home schools – educate the vast majority of Texas’ children, and no voucher program (including one in disguise) is going to change that. Such diversions will only make the jobs of the public schools even more difficult.
Chairman emeritus of the Texas Public Policy Foundation is none other than James Leininger, the wealthy San Antonio businessman who already has spent millions of dollars trying to purchase a voucher friendly state government.
Here is a link to the TPPF article: