Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rep. John Moore (R - Brandon) says his school choice bill will cost "so little you won't notice"

As I pointed out the other day, Rep. John Moore (R - Brandon) has introduced legislation that would allow parents of private school children to deduct tuition from their income for state tax purposes.  In effect, this would allow school choice for those wealthy enough to foot the private school tuition bill up front.

Rep. Moore discussed this bill in his Education Committee yesterday, and HOME 2012 was there to cover it.  Here's their coverage of it:

Before ending the meeting, Moore discussed his bill, HB1536. HB1536 will allow parents of students at private academies to deduct up to $5000 in tuition from their gross income for state income taxes. Rep. Alyce Clarke (D-Jackson) asked how much this would cost. Moore responded, “so little you won’t notice.” He estimated it would be about a $250 credit per private school student. MDE officials in attendance estimated the number of private school students at 37,000. If all of these numbers check out, the credit would cost the state approximately $9.25 million.
 Two things.  First, there's this little thing called a fiscal note, and us taxpayers foot the bill for legislative staff to prepare them.  All Rep. Moore has to do to get a more accurate look at the impact of his legislation is to request that one be prepared.  Second, the cost is greater here than dollars and cents.  Facilitating the segregation of our educational system along economic lines is not productive the development of future generations of Mississippians.

But then again, neither is a shorter school year or banning the teaching of civil rights, both of which House Education Committee Chairman Moore has proposed in the past.

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