The National Center for Home Education is working on the following federal legislation. We hope you will contact your senators and representative and urge them to support these bills. The U.S. capitol switchboard telephone number is (202) 224-3121.
Congress Targets Marriage Penalty
According to the Congressional Budget Office, approximately 21 million American couples pay higher income taxes simply because they are married and their combined income pushes them into a higher tax bracket than unmarried, cohabitating couples with equivalent incomes. The average extra tax bill for these married couples is $1,400, but the added tax burden may be as much as $20,000.
The marriage penalty is bad tax policy. American families are under enough economic pressure without added tax burdens. It is unjust for the government to penalize couples for being married.
Directly addressing this discrimination, Representative David McIntosh (R-IN) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have introduced legislation (H.R. 6 and S. 12) to eliminate the marriage penalty. The House proposal has already garnered over 225 cosponsors as well as the support of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. HSLDA supports these measures since they would provide greater economic freedom for families across America.
Dollars to the Classroom
The Dollars to the Classroom Act (H.R. 1494 and S. 396) was reintroduced on April 20 by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) in the Senate and Representatives Bill Goodling (R-PA) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) in the House. Last Congress, the Dollars to the Classroom Act passed the House in a close vote of 212-198, but failed to make it to the Senate before the close of the session.
This years bill will consolidate approximately $3 billion from 31 federal education programs and convert the funds into block grants to the states. This means the states can use that money for whatever education expenses they deem appropriate without the constraint of onerous federal education regulations tied to those failed programs.
The most important aspect of this legislation is that it will defund the Goals 2000 Act and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, rendering these program irrelevant. The only requirement is that the states ensure that at least 95 percent of the funds get to the classroom, leaving 5 percent for administration and bureaucracy.
HSLDA supports the Dollars to the Classroom Act. Although HSLDA does not recognize any federal role in education, we do see this bill as a first step toward the eventual elimination of the existing federal role.
Federal Tuition Tax Credit
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has introduced S. 138, a tuition tax credit bill for K–12 expenses, which explicitly includes home schooling. It is fashioned after a Virginia tuition tax credit bill (which did not pass this year) that gives a tax credit to parents for their childrens educational expenses and to other individuals who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship program to fund education for disadvantaged students. The amount of the credit would start at $100 for 1999 and gradually increase to $250 by 2002.
The Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1999
This years Education Savings Account (ESA) proposal is the same one which passed Congress last year, but was vetoed by President Clinton. Both the Senate and House versions (H.R. 7 and S. 677) would expand existing college education savings accounts by increasing the maximum allowable contribution from $500 to $2000 and by allowing the accounts to be used not only for college costs, but also for K–12 expenses in public, private, religious, or home schools. Although contributions to an ESA would not be tax deductible, the accumulated interest would be tax-free and withdrawals would not be subject to taxation if used for qualified expenses, including private school tuition.
H.R. 220: The Next Step in Restoring Privacy
As Americas moral decline accelerates, we find ourselves under closer and closer scrutiny by the federal government. In the name of cracking down on lawbreakers, such as illegal immigrants, certain members of Congress and many bureaucrats are calling for various forms of universal tracking. The problem with such solutions is that everyone loses their freedom, not just the criminals.
Over the last several years, HSLDA fought against a number of these intrusive universal identification and tracking proposals. We have opposed the use of the social security number as a universal identifier; successfully derailed the establishment of a national ID card to stop immigration; and worked to prevent a national tracking system for immunizations. However, federal bureaucrats continue to push for new privacy-invading regulations, such as the Department of Transportations national standards for a uniform drivers licensea defacto national ID card. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services is crafting regulations to create a national database and track immunizations of children across the country.
That is why HSLDA supports Congressman Ron Pauls Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act of 1999 (H.R. 220). This act will forbid the federal government from establishing any national ID cards or establishing any identifiers for the purpose of investigating, monitoring, overseeing, or regulating private transactions between American citizens. This legislation will also explicitly repeal sections of the 1996 Immigration Act which call for federal standards for drivers licenses and those sections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that require HHS to establish a uniform standard health identifier. Lastly, the bill would prohibit the use of the social security number as an identifier.