Bravo: Nevada Governor Pushes School Choice Bill

Posted: Apr 12, 2013 7:15 AM

It’s too early to tell if this legislation will go anywhere, but here’s to hoping it will eventually. Per the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to give businesses tax breaks for donating money to fund school choice scholarships for disadvantaged youth.

Sandoval’s legal counsel, tax chief and interim school superintendent presented SB445 Tuesday to the Senate Revenue Committee. No action was taken.

Administration officials say 14 states have adopted similar legislation.

The bill would give businesses a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for money donated to a scholarship organization. The organization would then make grants to disadvantaged youth to attend private schools or receive homeschooling materials.

Total tax breaks for the program would be capped at $5 million a year, and officials say it would not reduce money for K-12 education.

But others say the money would still come out of the state general fund and somebody’s budget.

This sounds to me like a pretty reasonable and sensible idea: create an incentive for businesses to invest in the children of tomorrow without allocating resources away from public schools. What’s not to like? Yes, critics obviously disagree with the premise of the legislation, insisting money will inevitably come from “somebody’s budget.” But even if that is the case (a big if), the initiative should at least be debated -- not least because it would give children living in poverty a chance to attend private or parochial schools. Not every student can excel in a traditional public school setting, and considering Nevada -- according to at least one study -- ranks among the bottom of the barrel vis-à-vis state’s providing quality educations to their residents, lawmakers need to do something. This proposal is a win-win for businesses and students alike. No wonder Nevada’s teachers union already opposes it.