Tag Archives: tax credits

2009 SC Legislative Wrap-up (TAX)

South Carolina Expectation Advisory

In December and January the Voice posted summaries of legislation introduced in the South Carolina State Legislature.

Here, six months later, is an overview of the status of those and other bills relating to tax policy.

(Also look for upcoming reviews of K-12 Education bills, Charter School bills, and Budget & Spending bills):

S. 10 Tax credits for solar, fuel cells, etc

This legislation allows a state income tax credit equal to twenty percent of the credit allowed against a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability for qualified expenditures on photovoltaic, solar, and fuel cell property. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 12 Revision of tax study committee

This bill establishes the South Carolina Taxation Realignment Commission and provides for its membership, powers, duties, and responsibilities. The legislation provides that the commission must conduct a comprehensive study of the state’s tax system and submit a report of its recommended changes to further the goal of maintaining and enhancing the state as an optimum competitor in the effort to attract businesses and individuals to locate, live, work, and invest in the state. Conference committee was appointed and the bill was taken up on June 16th. Lawmakers approved the measure provided the commission can’t consider details of Act 388 (a tax swap the legislature passed in 2006 that replaced property taxes on residential property with a two-cent increase in state sales taxes).

S. 67 Tax credits for metal detectors Continue reading

Mixed Messages on Education from Obama

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Parents, especially low-income parents, have a right to be confused about how President Obama really feels about education, especially when it comes to educational choices.

During the much-publicized hunt for a proper school for the Obama children, local public schools were clearly not even remotely considered to be adequate. Instead, an exclusive-and very costly-private school was selected to meet the educational needs of the first family. Subsequently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made sure his own children had the pick of the best schools, stating that their education was too important to jeopardize with a bad educational environment.

Now the confusion starts. Continue reading

Good Mileage More Important to Congress than Children

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Members of Congress ( 38% of which chose to send their own children to private school) sent a cutting message about governmental priorities to parents this week. Ignoring the large crowd of parents and children begging them to preserve the Washington, D.C. school choice program, politicians brushed them aside to do what they felt was best for their own political careers: say “how high?” when unions said “jump!”

Adding insult to a real injury for low-income families, the US Senate approved a “Cash for Clunkers” bill the same day that would hand out $4,500 vouchers to people who trade in their old cars for a newer, more fuel efficient machines.

The cruel irony of the Senate’s actions will not be lost on the families forced to send their children back to dangerous, failing public schools. Apparently, many of the same elected officials who believe financial incentives are evil and destructive when they are given to low-income students who need an education, are happy to pass out benefits to people who can afford to buy new vehicles.

Actions speak louder than the empty words uttered on the campaign trail, and the actions of U.S. Senators say that they think good mileage is more important than childrens’ education. Continue reading

School Choice moves to full committee in SC Senate

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Real K-12 educational options are one step closer to becoming law in South Carolina.

Legislation that will extend school choice options to middle- and low-income families through personal and corporate tax credits moved out of subcommittee today.

As the State Newspaper reports:

A bill that would give parents who send their children to private school or who homeschool their children tax breaks of up to $2,400 a year has passed a Senate education panel.

The bill will head to the full Senate Education Committee next, and if it passes there would go before the full Senate.

For more than five years, school-choice advocates have been fighting for the state to provide some assistance to private school parents. And some private schools say the assistance will help them, as parents in a down economy would be able to better afford tuition.

Dozens of parents with home-schooled and special-needs children packed the hearing room, along with independent school educators and other education activists.

At one point members of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms security detail even came in to threaten the eager parents who voiced their praise and approval for Senator Davis (R-Beaufort). In response to comments made by Senator Matthews about the lack of capacity in private schools, Senator Davis noted that private schools, unlike the one-size-fits-all public school establishment, would eagerly respond to parents and expand their capacity as more options for families were made available. Continue reading

Adam Schaeffer on School Choice

While embittered bureaucrats insist that giving parents real school choice is “experimental” and “dangerous,” other states are showing the tremendous benefits of school choice in improved academics, cost savings and increased equity in education.

Adam Schaeffer, of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, urged the SC Senate K-12 Education Subcommittee to look at the documented success of school choice in other states, and to adopt legislation that would help families in South Carolina.

More than anything, South Carolina lawmakers need to bear in mind that school choice is a reform measure that families in their districts want. Thousands of families have rallied at the state capitol in support of school choice on two occasions. Just last week hundreds more parents, students and educators came to make their need for choice known to state senators.

Lawmakers have no excuse to put off passing school choice in South Carolina. The data showing its benefits are clear, and more importantly, it is what many South Carolina families want.

Parents Pack Senate Building to Demand “Students over System”

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One of the two over-flow rooms packed with supporters of School Choice during the K-12 Education Subcommittee public hearing on S.520.

Today over 200 parents, educators, children and activists packed the halls of the state senate offices. Their mission was to urge state senators sitting on the K-12 Education Subcommittee to vote for real school choice options in South Carolina.

Despite the fact that halls in the Gressette Building are regularly crowded with paid lobbyists, security personnel refused to allow parents to stand in the hall outside where the hearing was taking place.  Even though many of these individuals had traveled long distances to be seen by their elected officials, scores of parents, children and educators were made to move to other empty hearing rooms, some of which were on a different floor from where the hearing was taking place.

Even these attempts to diminish the impact of the voters and taxpayers supporting school choice could not lessen the appeal of the parents’ testimonies. Continue reading

Education Legislation moves forward in SC Senate

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While House Members are on furlough, the South Carolina State Senate is in Columbia this week.

Here is a brief update on some of the important K-12 education legislation they are considering:

o S. 694, approving regulations for the State Department of Education relating to standards for review of Charter School Applications, designated as Regulation Document Number 4026, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.

o S. 695, providing that the South Carolina Charter School District shall distribute 200% of the current year’s base student cost to Charter Schools, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.

o S. 696, relating to the required advertisement of the results of a school’s report card in a local newspaper, to allow the required advertisement to be waived if an audited newspaper of general circulation in a school district’s geographic are has previously published the entire school report card results as a news item, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.

o S. 520, the Education Opportunity Act that provides tax credits for parents who homeschool or send their children to private schools and establishes a framework for non-profit scholarship granting organizations serving low-income students, will be reviewed by the K-12 subcommittee of the Education Committee on Thursday April 23rd. The public hearing will be held in Room 308, of the Gressette Building in the Statehouse Complex.

UPDATE: S. 694, approving regulations for the State Department of Education relating to standards for review of Charter School Applications, designated as Regulation Document Number 4026, has received second reading (4/15).

Readers Favor School Choice by 65.8%

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From The Charleston Regional Business Journal

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published March 27, 2009

Readers who responded to a two-day e-mail poll overwhelmingly said they were in favor of school choice in South Carolina.

Sensing a swell of opinion related to state Sen. Robert Ford’s comments and press conference Tuesday in favor of school choice, SC Biz News asked readers in Charleston, Columbia and statewide their opinions on the issue.

Readers were asked to choose vouchers, tax credits or no school choice, and were then given a chance to comment. Continue reading

Herald-Journal Editorial Embraces Myths about School Choice

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What do all these things have in common? They are all myths.

Tax credits won’t help families. Scholarships won’t help families. Public schools will be cast aside and underfunded. Private schools will quickly become quasi-government institutions.

This is what The Spartanburg Herald Journal predicts will happen if South Carolina lawmakers adopt the SC Education Opportunity Act. The only disasters left out of the Spartanburg paper’s apocalyptic, post-school choice scenario are outright Communist invasion and the Thunderdome.

A quick glance at the thriving school choice programs in other states show these panicked speculations to be just as ludicrous as they sound.
Let’s consider a few of the Herald-Journal’s claims: Continue reading

School Choice could save South Carolina $400 million

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Great commentary published in the Orange County Register on January 22, 2009. The author is Adam B. Schaeffer, Ph.D

Schaeffer points to over $400 million in possible savings from School Choice in South Carolina:

School Choice Works for Tight Times

The economy’s on the skids and perhaps still heading toward a cliff. State budgets are in the hole after years of unsustainable increases, and a lot of states are talking about program cuts and tax increases.

We are all in desperate need of practical policies that save money. And there just happens to be a reform that can save huge amounts from education, the biggest expense in state and local budgets: school choice.

A large-scale education tax credit can help get us through these lean times without tax increases, and it’s the financial argument that will get a major choice program passed. Continue reading