Thursday, June 16, 2011
Today, House Bill 344 – Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities – passed North Carolina’s House of Representatives by a 95-20 vote. Yesterday, the measure passed the North Carolina Senate by an overwhelming vote of 44-5. In addition, 65 percent of the Democrat caucus supported the bill to provide more educational opportunities for parents of children with special needs.
The bill now heads to the governor for her signature.
“This would not be possible without the work of Rep. Paul Stam, the bill’s primary sponsor,” said Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC). “Moreover, support for this measure is strong statewide – even among likely Democrat voters – with 82 percent of voters in favor. With the backing from key statewide disability groups and overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill, we are confident that this provides compelling evidence that our governor should support this measure with her signature,” Allison said.
“We applaud the incredible leadership and courage of Rep. Paul Stam, Darrell Allison, President of PEFNC, and all the legislators who voted for this important measure to give parents of children with special needs more options in education,” said Robert C. Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “We particularly applaud the tremendous bipartisan support for the measure, and also encourage the governor to sign this historic piece of legislation.”
Should the bill become law, North Carolina parents of students with special needs can claim an independent tax credit for expenses related to private school tuition and other educational services. Specifically, those families can receive a non-refundable tax credit worth up to $6,000 annually.
It is estimated nearly 200,000 K-12 students in North Carolina public schools are receiving special education and other related services this school year. A PEFNC analysis found the tax credits, within the next five years, could save taxpayers up to $10 million.
“This is the year of educational options,” said Enlow. “And North Carolina is just one signature away from joining the growing number of states providing parents of children with special needs greater educational options.”
“This bill, along with a measure to eliminate the state’s charter school cap, is the culmination of five years of effort,” Allison said. “A number of groups have worked to promote parental choice in North Carolina, and I might add, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has been there since the very beginning. North Carolina is a perfect example of how the Friedman Foundation works to help build a sustainable and locally led effort for school choice, and I am particularly grateful for all their support over the years.”
About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.