Indigent Children Watch

by John J. Miller

The party of hope strikes again:

RICHMOND – The Virginia Senate’s Finance Committee, after hearing emotional testimony from students and educators, voted along party lines Tuesday to kill a measure that would have given businesses tax credits for funding private-school tuition for needy students.

The bill, sponsored by Del. James P. Massie III (R-Henrico), would have given businesses that donated to nonprofits providing scholarships for private schools a tax credit worth 70 percent of the value of the donations. The scholarships would have gone to indigent children whose family incomes qualified them for the federal reduced-price or free lunch program.

Each scholarship could have provided up to the equivalent of local school aid, which ranges between $1,300 to $6,700 across the state. The total available tax deductions would have been capped at $25 million.

Florida started a tax-credit scholarship program about a decade ago, with a vote along party lines. It has proven so popular with parents and politicians that its expansion has become a bipartisan cause. This is one of the most effective ways for introducing school choice to a state, which is why the allies of government-run schools are so bitterly opposed.

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