Know The Facts! Children's Education Voucher Initiative
The Children’s Education Initiative would create a $90 million tax credit program for taxpayers that make contributions to private schools, parochial schools and public school foundations. Under the program, taxpayers would be allowed to claim a tax credit equaling 50% of their donation on their annual income tax returns. The total credit per year could not exceed $50,000. If a donation exceeds the taxpayer’s liability or $50,000, the total amount of the credit would be allowed to carry forward for up to four years. Of the $90 million, $45 million would be dedicated for donations to public school foundations (the Commissioner of Education is responsible for choosing which donations are eligible), $36 million to donations to private schools, and $9 million to private special education providers.
Things to consider before signing this voucher petition...
- The Children’s Education Initiative would redirect $90 million away from the state’s general revenue fund. The tax credit program would remove this money from state revenues when those resources could be used to help fund the state’s foundation formula that is underfunded by nearly $600 million.
- The Commissioner of Education is given the authority to decide which individuals will receive a tax credit if the total tax credits for public education foundations exceed $45 million or if the tax credits exceed $36 million for private schools or if the tax credits for special education programs exceed $9 million. There are no guidelines defined that must be followed.
- There is no provision that despite receiving public money through this tax credit program that private schools be required to be held to the same standards as public schools.
- Missouri currently spends over $500 million on tax credit giveaways, more than any other state in the country, a new $90 million tax credit would be an 18% increase in tax credits.
- The Children’s Education Initiative creates an inequity in Missouri school funding. Wealthy patrons that live in wealthier regions of the state are better positioned to take advantage of this tax credit, while poorer and smaller schools in rural and urban Missouri are at a disadvantage.
- Because almost all of the private schools in the state of Missouri are located in suburban and urban settings, private schools in those areas will be receiving the funding that would normally be distributed through the formula to all schools in the state.
Conversations should take place with local churches, faith based organizations, and their leaders that may be supporting this initiative with out fully understanding what is contained in it. Remind them that...
- If this initiative is passed, this will open up private schools to be required to be held to the same standards and accountability systems as Missouri public schools.
- The voucher initiative will negatively affect tithing in local churches, as the state will now be subsidizing the regular donations that are already being made.
Posted on Wed, December 18, 2013