(The Center Square) — An education choice advocacy group says personal education tax credits are popular with parents nationwide, and Georgia lawmakers could soon move on education reform.
With education tax credits, an alternative to Education Savings Accounts, parents or guardians receive a credit when they choose a non-public school for their dependent’s education. According to the group yes. every kid., states can use existing tax mechanisms for these policies, and parents or guardians receive a tax refund by indicating on a tax form or an application their dependent isn’t enrolled in public school.
A new poll the group released shows that 80% of parents of K-12 students support personal education tax credits, while two-thirds of parents believe they will improve education in our country. The yes. every kid. foundation. and YouGov conducted the poll of 1,209 people with a margin of error of 3.4%.
“Think about the idea of Georgia recruiting a company to build a factory or relocate a headquarters,” Craig Hulse, executive director of yes. every kid., told The Center Square. “When they talk to those potential employees or those companies, they talk a lot about the schools and the neighborhoods and where you’re going to build the plant or where your employees are going to live.
“If you do something like a universal tax credit, a universal education savings account, you really take that off the table in a good way,” Hulse added. “Your family is good to move to Georgia, and they can send their kid anywhere they want to go to school, any educational opportunity.”
During this year’s session, Georgia lawmakers killed Senate Bill 233, the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act. Nearly all Democrats and a few Republicans in the Legislature voted against the measure, which called for taxpayers to cover the cost of scholarships up to $6,500 per student per school year.
The proposal would have allowed the families to use the money to defray “qualified” education costs, such as private school tuition. At the time, some public policy groups said lawmakers, in failing to pass the bill, missed the chance to expand educational opportunities for Peach State students.
Separately, Georgia received a B and ranked 11th nationwide for its education freedom in the American Legislative Exchange Council 2023 Index of State Education Freedom. The report graded the Peach State on its charter schools, financing programs, homeschooling, open enrollment and virtual schooling.
“Education freedom will be discussed in Georgia — absolutely,” Hulse said. “Gov. [Brian] Kemp supports it. There’s a ton of support in the Legislature for it, whether that’s an education savings account or something that was discussed last session, or maybe a tax credit like [an education tax credit], I think that’s to be determined.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor