OU Supports Introduction of Texas School Choice Legislation

20 Dec 2012


Incoming Texas Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick

Yesterday, Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and incoming Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick jointly announced their support for corporate tax credit scholarships as an integral part of their overall education plan for the upcoming session.
In a press conference held at the Cathedral School of St. Mary’s, a Catholic parochial school located near the capitol building, the two prominent Texas legislators vowed to pass a tax credit scholarship program that would offer many students the financial support needed to attend the school of their choice.

Under this proposal, businesses who donate to nonprofit scholarship organizations would receive a break on their franchise or insurance taxes. Then, scholarship organizations would use the money to fund scholarships for eligible students. This marks the first time that either Lt. Governor Dewhurst or Senator Patrick have released any specific proposals regarding their education agenda for the upcoming 83rd legislative session.

After the press conference, Jesse Hervitz, Associate Director of Political Affairs for the Orthodox Union, remarked: “Tax credit scholarship programs, like the one being proposed by the Lt. Governor and Senator Patrick, have a proven track record for expanding education opportunity for disadvantaged and working class families in many states. If passed, a tax credit scholarship program will have the same effect for children in Texas. We thank Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Senator Patrick for their leadership on this important issue.”

Other states, such as Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Georgia, and Arizona have created similar scholarship programs over the last several years. Many of these states, most notably Florida and Pennsylvania, have seen their programs expanded due to the success and popularity of the aforementioned scholarship programs.

The StepUp for Students Scholarship in Florida has more than doubled in size since its humble beginnings and now offers scholarships to roughly 40,240 students from low income households. Likewise, Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program was recently expanded from $75 million to $100 million and now provides scholarships for over 40,000 students annually.

The Orthodox Union and its communities across the state of Texas look forward to working with their legislators to ensure that this proposal becomes a reality.

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