Two state lawmakers proposed an education tax credit bill that would bring school choice to Idaho families.
State Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, and Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, proposed a parental choice tax credit allowing families to reclaim tax dollars for private education.
Credits would not exceed $5,000, and the total program would cost roughly $50 million. While most credits would be first come first serve, $10 million would be set aside specifically for low-income families.
“In a time of high inflation and economic uncertainty [and] the increased concern over the alignment of family values and education, this proposal is designed to support Idaho parents as they make decisions about their child’s education,” said Den Hartog.
The co-sponsors explained the bill wouldn’t harm public education and had built-in accountability through the State Tax Commission.
“I am not a fan of budget-busting bills,” Horman added.
Idaho is currently a part of the school choice desert – a clump of mostly Western states with no school choice programs, even for special needs or low-income students.
According to the Mountain States Policy Center, hundreds of thousands of families benefit from similar tax credit or deduction programs nationwide.
Missouri lawmakers also will discuss a universal education tax credit in the current legislative session.
“The vast majority of polling shows Idaho parents want more education options, so we are thrilled there will be a number of proposals this session,” Chris Cargill, president of the Mountain States Policy Center, told The Lion.
“This particular proposal is perhaps the cleanest, because it simply applies a refundable tax credit to families, and it does away with any false sense that this would siphon money from K-12 public schools,” he added.