Tax credits vs. vouchers

supporting-our-schoolMichael A. LaFerrara has an excellent post over at the Objectivist Standard about the distinction between school vouchers and tax credits and why the latter is ultimately superior if the goal is to achieve a world where education is totally 100% privatized without any state procurement of schools or funds.

Mr. LaFerrara’s framework consists of assessing every taxpayer’s education tax liability (ETL) that she pays to the state to fund schools, as well as assessing what is the average annual cost (AAC) for a student to attend a government school in a particular district. The plan calls for an “opt-in” mechanism (parents and taxpayers who do not wish to redeem their ETLs can continue to pay their taxes to the government schools unchanged) where parents and families can choose to redeem their ETB up to the amount of their child’s AAC and then use those monies to purchase an education from any private learning institution that the parents want. So, for example, a family with that has an ETB of $13,000 per year with a child that has an AAC of $10,000 can qualify for a credit up to that AAC amount.

If the private school that the family wanted to send its child to charged more than the AAC return, the family would have to find another way to come up with the cash to make up the difference. LaFerrera puts this restraint on the program and allows the government schools to consume the difference between the AAC credit and the private school cost because he believes that for such a policy to pass muster it has to throw them at least one bone or two.

I’m skeptical about some parts (like the the limit on the amount of contributions can receive from donors forfeiting their credits over to beneficiaries to the total AAC), and would like to more about whether his proposal calls for the abolition of state teacher accreditation as well as the repeal of all compulsory attendance laws, but all-in-all I think this is definitely a platform the the parental school choice movement should seriously consider adopting as model legislation.

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