As state legislatures begin their 2011 sessions, redefinED will be watching a growing number of measures in the works that would establish tax credit scholarship programs. Today, Virginia’s House Finance Committee will take up HB 2314, which would launch the Education Investment Tax Credit. Tommorow, a New Jersey assembly committee on economic development will consider that state’s proposed Opportunity Scholarship Act.
While many policy watchers and columnists are crediting this resurgence of “voucher” type plans to the mass of Republican governors and legislative leaders who took office in the recent elections, the following proposals are notable for the bipartisan support that has surfaced. “It used to be that anything resembling a ‘voucher’ was taboo among Democrats,” said Tom Byrne, who served two terms as chairman of New Jersey’s Democrat Party from 1994 to 1997. “But many have come to see school choice as a civil rights issue.”
During the next few months, we will provide frequent updates on the status of these plans. Below is a list of bills that have been filed so far, with links to more information:
Indiana — HB 1003 (School Scholarships): Primary sponsors: Representatives Behning and Bosma; referred to Committee on Education
New Jersey — S 1872 (Opportunity Scholarship Act): Primary sponsors: Senators Lesniak and Kean — A 2810 (Opportunity Scholarship Act): Primary sponsors: Assemblymen Fuentes, DeCroce, Schaer and Webber; up before the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Pennsylvania — SB 1 (Opportunity Scholarships and Educational Improvement Tax Credit): Primary sponsors: Senators Piccola, Williams; referred to education committee
South Carolina — S 414 (Educational Opportunity Act): Primary sponsor: Senator Grooms; referred to Committee on Education — H 3407 (Educational Opportunity Act): Primary sponsor: Representative Herbkersman; referred to Committee on Ways and Means
Virginia — HB 2314 (Education Investment Tax Credit): Primary sponsor: Delegate Jimmie Massie; taken up today by the House Finance Committee