Messenger staff report
As the Kentucky General Assembly passes the midway point of its 2020 session, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky is asking constituents to make a strong push for Scholarship Tax Credit legislation.
“A group of House Republicans are fighting hard to prevent HB 350 from even getting a vote in 2020,” said Andrew Vandiver, associate director, CCK. “There is still plenty of time left to pass the bill with a veto proof majority, but the path forward is narrowing as the clock ticks towards the end of the legislative session on April 15.”
HB 350 would establish a separate income tax credit for tuition assistance based on contributions made to a qualified scholarship-granting organization. The tax credit would be available to businesses as well as individuals. Qualified scholarship-granting organizations are non-profit organizations that provide financial aid, or scholarships, to lower income families who wish to send their children to non-public schools. An example is ACUE (the Alliance for Catholic Urban Education) in the Diocese of Covington, but if passed, Scholarship Tax Credits would help thousands of families across Northern Kentucky and the entire state.
The issue, he said, is stalling not because of a lack of support. Polls show that 62 percent of Kentuckians support Scholarship Tax Credits. Hundreds of supporters have taken time to visit the Capitol to meet with legislators. Thousands have e-mailed or called their legislators. Why is the bill not moving?
“The answer is simple: a group of House Republican legislators have decided that they would prefer to avoid taking a vote on the issue at all,” said Mr. Vandiver.
The CCK and EdChoice Kentucky, a coalition focused on bringing a scholarship tax credit program to the Commonwealth, say that every parent —regardless of income or address — should be able to choose the school that would provide their child with his or her best opportunity for success, a school that meets their child’s educational needs.
“For some families, the stakes are even higher,” said Mr. Vandiver. “We have heard from multiple families this session whose children are facing severe bullying and are in desperate need of an alternative. These are situations that no member of the General Assembly would accept for their own children. Yet, certain members expect other families to watch their children fall through the cracks.”
Mr. Vandiver said that the bill has many “champions” in the General Assembly — like Rep. Chad McCoy, Rep. Jerry Miller, Rep. Walker Thomas and Senator Ralph Alvarado — and encourages Kentuckians to contact their legislators to find out where they stand on Scholarship Tax Credits.
“It is time to know where everyone else stands,” said Mr. Vandiver. “Contact your senator and representative today, even if you have already done so, and demand that they put Scholarship Tax Credits to a vote. If they are going to oppose educational freedom for Kentucky families, they should at least be willing to do so in the light of day by voting on the bill.”
To contact legislators call 1-800-372-7181 or visit www.votervoice.net/CCKY/Home.