Gov. Rick Perry today proposed an initiative that will provide a business tax credit that in turn will help working Texans who never finished high school return to school to earn a diploma or GED.
"A single dropout is one dropout too many, so we must continue pursuing sensible education options that give every Texan a shot at a better life," Gov. Perry said. "With the help of the 82nd Legislature, we can continue this collaborative approach to improving education and keep removing the barriers that stand in the way of dropouts completing their education and taking their rightful place in our workforce."
The proposal, which requires legislative action, would provide a tax incentive to employers who grant their employees two hours a week of paid time off to return to school or study for their GED. Once the employees have received their diploma or GED, the employer is then eligible to receive $1,500 per student in credit toward sales tax liability.
Over the next biennium, the proposal would grant an estimated $15 million in sales tax credits, based on an estimated 5,000 dropouts a year taking advantage of the program. The program would be restricted to high school dropouts age 18 and over who are legal residents of the state. All employers who pay sales taxes or directly remit sales taxes to the state, and are in good standing, will be eligible to participate.
Ensuring that Texas remains a leader in job creation depends on the development of our workforce and is imperative to Texas' future prosperity. Gov. Perry has previously outlined several education initiatives for the 2011 legislative session, including:
* A $160 million expansion of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, increasing the number and scope of T-STEM Academies and funding STEM scholarships to help ensure students receive a competitive education in these subjects.
* Expansion of the Virtual School Network (VSN) to improve access to high-quality courses for students who have dropped out of traditional high schools. The VSN was created during the 2007 Legislative Session to establish a statewide network of online courses available to students across the state. These virtual courses give students access to classes their schools may not offer, additional access to dual credit opportunities, and additional flexibility to help keep students in school.
* Generation Adelante/Generación Forward, which encourages Texas high school graduates to pursue higher education by providing them with information about college applications, financial aid and college visits. These college fairs also give students the opportunity to speak with representatives from more than 30 colleges, universities and technical colleges from across the state.
* Requiring high school students to be enrolled in school or working toward a GED to be eligible to for a Texas driver license.
For more information about the governor's education priorities, please visit