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NTU Supports H.R. 4400, the Children's Hope Act
January 5, 2006
The Honorable Trent Franks
Dear Representative Franks:
On behalf of the 350,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of your bill, H.R. 4400, the Children's Hope Act. If passed into law, this legislation would both encourage states to enact scholarship tax credits of $250 or more and create a federal scholarship tax credit of $100 ($200 for joint returns). Importantly, for states that do not have an income tax, the plan would allow for the credits to be taken against property taxes. Funds set aside under this program would be used to create grants to primary and secondary schools for low income children.
This proposal deserves support because rather than pouring more tax dollars into bloated, government-run education monopolies, it allows state and federal taxpayers to shift some resources to privately-run scholarship programs designed to benefit low-income students. Federal education spending has spiraled out of control in recent years and primary and secondary education comprise ever larger portions of state budgets. With little in the way of achievement statistics indicating that this spending has improved education, there is no question that the current system fails to protect taxpayers, while at the same time it does nothing for poor and working-class students.
Ultimately, NTU and its members would prefer to shift to a much flatter, fairer Tax Code that spurs stronger economic growth and keeps more money in the pockets of everyday Americans, thus allowing them to spend it on education or whatever goods and services are important to them. However, given the myriad of deductions and credits already to be found in our tax system and the lack of consensus in Washington on the issue of fundamental tax reform, your proposal would provide one of the best returns on investment of any tax credit.
There is no question that education reform must be one of the highest priorities for taxpayers, not to mention the children in our schools. The Children's Hope Act provides a useful tool in shifting the education debate away from a simple question of money and toward a discussion of empowering students and their parents to create a more market-driven education system.
Paul J. Gessing