"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Stop Jindal's Backdoor Voucher Plan

If citizens do not call and write their state reps, the privatizers will have this one done before you can say dirty scumsucker. Good reporting from the Times-Picauyne:
BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal will launch the second special legislative session of his 8-week-old administration today aimed at spending a $1.1 billion surplus left over from last year's budget and pursuing a widely popular effort to eliminate three taxes on business.

But during the narrow window of time for the session, Jindal is also proposing a surprise initiative that signals a significant shift in state policy by offering government support for private school tuition expenses.

Following a path that only a few other states have taken, Jindal and his top allies in the Legislature want to give parents a state income tax deduction for 50 percent of their private school tuition up to $5,000, which generally would result in tax savings of $60 to $300 per pupil. It also would give a tax break for home schooling expenses.

Although the program's overall $20 million price tag is relatively minor compared to the billions of dollars in the state budget, the program crosses a line that Louisiana has long placed between public and private school support and would create a tax break tilted in favor of those with higher incomes.

"I'm pretty confident it's something that we have widespread support for," said Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee that will consider the proposal.

Greene has reason to be confident. A similar initiative passed overwhelmingly last spring but was vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who said she feared "that this legislation may subsidize private schools at the expense of public school children."

With Jindal as governor, a veto is practically out of the picture. But that fact may change the calculations for some lawmakers, and the House and Senate this year are composed of many new members.

"I think it's going to be one of those issues that's pretty hotly debated," said Rep. Don Trahan, R-Lafayette, chairman of the House Education Committee. . . .
The rest here.

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