COLUMBUS, Ohio – Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values joined with State Senator Matt Huffman and U.S. Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan to discuss an Ohio bill designed to take advantage of a yet-to-be-passed federal plan. That federal plan would create a tax credit program that would provide up to $5 billion for scholarships for disadvantaged children.
Senate Bill 634 was introduced by Ted Cruz (R-TX) earlier this year. It “…would expand elementary, secondary, and vocational education opportunities for students by providing a federal tax credit to encourage individuals and businesses to donate to nonprofit scholarship funds.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL-01) introduced the House version.
The Ohio Channel tweeted the press conference while it was happening, “LIVE at 12:15PM | Press Conference with @matthuffman1 Announcing the Freedom Scholarship Program for Ohio | Watch it here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/live/press-conference …”
— Ohio Channel (@TheOhioChannel) November 4, 2019
Baer told reporters, “We’re just getting started to make sure every family has access to education that meets their needs.” He referenced the positive momentum for school choice under the leadership of Governor Mike DeWine and Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima), especially the expansion of the Ed Choice Scholarship in the budget.
“At CCV we take a pro-parent approach to education. That means we want strong public schools, private schools, charter schools, online academies and home education,” Baer added. “We’re here to announce some new, exciting legislation that’s taking advantage of a program that Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education announced earlier this year, Education Freedom Scholarships, which will be a $5 billion federal tax credit for families.”
Baer turned the mic over to Senator Huffman, the sponsor of Senate Bill 199, the Ohio legislation designed to implement the federal program once it passes. Huffman gave a brief history of the growth of school choice.
“One of things I’ve dealt with since I’ve been in legislature…is [answering the question] ‘how much is this going to cost us’?” Huffman said. “Great question we should always ask every time we do something different.”
“One of the great things about the Education Freedom Scholarship is it does not cost the state of Ohio any money,” the Senator emphasized. “This is a $5 billion program that the federal government is trying to implement. It’s pending in Congress right now.”
“Essentially what it does is say, if an individual decides that they want to make a contribution to a Scholarship Granting Organization or an SGO…they will be able to take that as a direct credit on their federal income tax,” Huffman explained. “Not a deduction, not an exemption, but a direct credit…so it’s not going to be money that comes from the state coffers.”
Senate Bill 199 would enable Ohio to create SGOs, putting Ohio students in a prime position to take advantage of the federal legislation if and when it passes.
“It [the program] rests on the fundamental two pillars of school choice, which is family choice and lower costs to the tax payers,” Huffman added. “[Actually] It’s no cost to the taxpayers because the state government isn’t paying for it.”
Baer introduced the men and women joining them for the press conference: Chad Aldis, Frank O’Linn, Larry Keough, Matt Daniels, Ann Riddle and Greg Lawson.
Asst. Sec. Brogan spoke to reporters, echoing the sentiments of Sen. Huffman. “This particular program is really two-fold. What it is Ohio is now discussing…and a very important piece of congressional language centering around the Education Freedom Scholarship Program.”
Brogan added, “We want to put a much greater emphasis on something that really matters, and that’s giving mothers and fathers and families more strength and choice in how their sons and daughters are being educated and where.”
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