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South Carolina

June 16, 2004s

House Bill 4908: Tax Credits for Homeschooling

Author:
W. Douglas Smith (R-District 32)

Summary:
This bill would have provided income and property tax credits for tuition paid to public or nonpublic schools, including homeschools.

Homeschooling families would have been entitled to tax credits for expenses incurred for tutors, textbooks, school supplies, fees for membership in an association that sets the academic standards for the student's homeschooling program, and academic lessons. The bill also provided

that tax credits would be available for contributions to organizations providing scholarships to students for educational expenses. Designated as the "South Carolina Put Parents in Charge Act," this bill had the strong support of Governor Mark Sanford.

Status:

03/04/2004Introduced and referred to House Ways and Means Committee
06/03/2004This bill died when the Legislature adjourned

Action Requested:
None at this time

HSLDA's Position:
This bill should be supported.

Background:
After four hours of heated testimony by supporters and opponents before a House Subcommittee on April 20, 2004, the bill was approved by a 2-1 vote and sent to the full Ways and Means Committee for consideration. Action by the Ways and Means Committee may be as early as this week.

Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system while they privately educate their own children. This "double taxation" is unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the tax burden of public schools they do not use themselves, a significant number of homeschool leaders are concerned about any effort to obtain benefits from the government.

Most homeschool leaders agree that vouchers (direct payments from the government to private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the controls and loss of freedom that comes with the money.

With H.B.4908's educational tax credits, parents and individuals who provide for a child's education would be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would otherwise have been used to fund public education.

Educational tax credit legislation in other states can typically be divided into two categories: tax credits for individuals or corporations who contribute to a non-profit scholarship fund and tax credits reimbursing parents for educational expenses incurred for their children. Arizona passed an educational tax credit law which falls into the first category while Minnesota and Illinois passed a tax credit falling into the second category.

H.B. 4908 offers several benefits:

  • Educational tax credits will give parents true choice in education - This tax credit will help reduce the "double tax burden" on parents who choose private or home education.

  • Education tax credits will benefit public schools - By encouraging students to attend private schools or homeschools, the tuition tax credit will reduce overcrowded public school classrooms and improve the student-to-teacher ratio.

  • Education tax credits will benefit low-income families - Most educational tax credit proposals provide a credit for businesses and private individuals who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship fund, which are usually dedicated to helping low-income families. This type of credit provides an incentive to help give low-income families true choice in their children's education.

For more information on educational tax credits, see our memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200308190.asp

 Other Resources

Apr-28-2004 — Calls Needed - Help Pass Education Tax Credits

Bill Text

Bill History