The number one legislative priority of the Rio Grande Foundation this session is to get education tax credits for school choice. A letter on this has been posted below. Liberal Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino has sponsored one of the bills. Feel free to use parts of this letter to contact your own legislators.
January 18, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
The Rio Grande Foundation is New Mexico’s only free market think tank working on public policy issues of interest to residents of our state. Our primary research areas include tax, budget, and education reform. The issue of education reform transcends the others because education forms such a large portion of the state’s budget – nearly half of the general fund – and impacts so many areas of the state economy.
The potential for positive impact of the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act and the Special Needs Student Scholarship Act would be immeasurable.
Here’s why passing these bills is important for New Mexico’s economic vitality and our children’s future:
• More than one-third of our students drop out before graduating from high school.
• This must be turned around in order to attract new businesses and business growth in our state and to give our children the opportunities they need to succeed in school.
• This legislation will help provide scholarships that will enable lower-income and special-needs students to attend schools that will better meet their needs. They will be much more likely to stay in school and to develop a solid educational foundation.
According to recent polling data more than 70 percent of N.M. voters support tax-credit scholarships for children from low-income families. For special-needs students, the support for tax-credit scholarships rose to an astonishing 78 percent in the poll.
While money is still tight, the good news is that these tax credit bills will have a slight, positive impact on New Mexico’s budget. Rather than sucking resources out of the budget, these bills would give greater educational choice to parents and students, all while slightly improving the budget.
Education tax credits are not a partisan issue. Legislators of both parties have supported education tax credits in states that have adopted them including Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Rhode Island.
New Mexico needs serious education reform. That is why the Rio Grande Foundation supports the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act and the Special Needs Student Scholarship Act.
Paul J. Gessing