INTRODUCTION OF THE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT TAX CUT ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - January 26, 2005)
SPEECH OF HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2005
* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Education Improvement Tax Cut Act. This act, a companion to my Family Education Freedom Act, takes a further step toward returning control over education resources to private citizens by providing a $3,000 tax credit for donations to scholarship funds to enable low-income children to attend private schools. It also encourages private citizens to devote more of their resources to helping public schools, by providing a $3,000 tax credit for cash or in-kind donations to public schools to support academic or extra curricular programs.
* I need not remind my colleagues that education is one of the top priorities of the American people. After all, many members of Congress have proposed education reforms and a great deal of time is spent debating these proposals. However, most of these proposals either expand federal control over education or engage in the pseudo-federalism of block grants. Many proposals that claim to increase local control over education actually extend federal power by holding schools ``accountable'' to federal bureaucrats and politicians. Of course, schools should be held accountable for their results, but they should be held accountable to parents and school boards not to federal officials. Therefore, I propose we move in a different direction and embrace true federalism by returning control over the education dollar to the American people.
* One of the major problems with centralized control over education funding is that spending priorities set by Washington-based Representatives, staffers, and bureaucrats do not necessarily match the needs of individual communities. In fact, it would be a miracle if spending priorities determined by the wishes of certain politically powerful representatives or the theories of Education Department functionaries match the priorities of every community in a country as large and diverse as America. Block grants do not solve this problem as they simply allow states and localities to choose the means to reach federally-determined ends.
* Returning control over the education dollar for tax credits for parents and for other concerned citizens returns control over both the means and ends of education policy to local communities. People in one community may use this credit to purchase computers, while children in another community may, at last, have access to a quality music program because of community leaders who took advantage of the tax credit contained in this bill.
* Children in some communities may benefit most from the opportunity to attend private, parochial, or other religious schools. One of the most encouraging trends in education has been the establishment of private scholarship programs. These scholarship funds use voluntary contributions to open the doors of quality private schools to low-income children. By providing a tax credit for donations to these programs, Congress can widen the educational opportunities and increase the quality of education for all children. Furthermore, privately-funded scholarships raise none of the concerns of state entanglement raised by publicly-funded vouchers.
* There is no doubt that Americans will always spend generously on education, the question is, ``who should control the education dollar--politicians and bureaucrats or the American people?'' Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in placing control of education back in the hands of citizens and local communities by sponsoring the Education Improvement Tax Cut Act.