Subsidizing Private Education

Virginia Republican Delegate Jimmie Massie introduced HB 2314 establishing a tax credit “for corporations donating cash to nonprofit organizations providing scholarships to students who would have been eligible for the free and reduced lunch program under federal law, in order for them to attend nonpublic elementary or secondary schools.” His bill passed the House of Delegates, where Republicans hold a majority. Thankfully, it died in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

I am an opponent of public education, but I don’t support taxpayer subsidization of private education either. Ostensibly well-intentioned, the bill sought to provide taxpayer money for low-income children to attend private schools; 70% of the donation would be returned via a tax credit. The phrase “tax credit” is a misnomer; it is still an added expenditure. Proponents of the bill made claims like “a $10,000 scholarship donation would only cost the state $7,000.” How this is supposed to make anyone support the proposal, I have no idea – it still costs the state an additional $7,000. This is just another example of government redistributing money from one person to another via nefarious means.

While I believe that the government should not be spending money (or taxing it) for purposes of education, I do support school vouchers. Yes, funding still comes from the government but it does not require additional expenditures and it introduces at least some measure of competition into an otherwise free-market antithesis.



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