Today, Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-08) introduced the Children's Hope Act (H.R. 422), which would encourage states to enact their own state scholarship tax credit, similar to the credit that has been so successful in Arizona, thereby giving all children the opportunity to obtain the best possible education, without spending taxpayer dollars:
"Most of my public life has been devoted to children's issues. I have seen first-hand that the strongest and surest inducement to educational excellence is to give parents the ability to choose what kind of educational substance and environment is best for their child. They are the ones who know their own children the best and they have the intrinsic right to make the fundamental decisions regarding their children's education.
"For this reason, I have introduced the Children's Hope Act, which builds upon the success of the Arizona scholarship tax credit, which I was privileged to author in 1997. Thus far, Arizona taxpayers have raised over $430 million for scholarships since 1998. In 2011 alone, nearly 75,000 taxpayers awarded over $47 million to fund 25,000 scholarships for children throughout the state.
"Families have waited far too long for essential reforms to our education system and, through this legislation, would be able to make an immeasurable difference in the life of a child. All children deserve the best education possible. The Children's Hope Act represents an ideal opportunity to employ a proven method to help make that happen."
Under the Children's Hope Act, if a state enacts a scholarship tax credit of $250 or more, based upon the minimal guidelines that are outlined in the text of the legislation, all residents of that state are eligible to take part in an additional federal tax credit. The federal tax credit is $100 ($200 for joint returns) and is for those individuals contributing to organizations that distribute at least one-half of the scholarships to low-income children. For the nine states that do not levy a personal income tax, individuals would be able to take a dollar for dollar credit against their property taxes.