By US Daily Review Staff.
A new scholarship tax credit program benefiting low-income families in New Hampshire became law this week, joining a recently-passed measure in Mississippi for dyslexic children as the latest in a groundswell of school choice momentum across the country.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—yesterday praised elected officials in both legislatures, as well as Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, all of whom have worked tirelessly to create and expand programs to help disadvantaged children in their states.
In New Hampshire, Senate Bill 372—which creates the new statewide scholarship program—became law yesterday after the legislature overrode a veto of the legislation from Governor John Lynch. With a final vote of 236-108 in the House and 16-7 in the Senate, the bill allows scholarship organizations to provide up to $2,500 for scholarships to children from low-income families. The bill allows businesses to receive a tax credit equal to 85 percent of their donations and includes a statewide cap of $6.8 million in the program’s first year. In any year that 80 percent of the statewide cap is reached, the cap will increase by 25 percent.
House Bill 1031 in Mississippi creates the Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program, a new school choice initiative that will offer assistance to children with dyslexia. The measure, which was approved last month with bipartisan support, is the nation’s eleventh private school choice program for children with special needs. The law will go into effect on July 1.
These new programs in Mississippi and New Hampshire represent just the most recent victories for parents and children during the first half of 2012. In April, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal approved a bipartisan, statewide expansion of the New Orleans voucher program and created a scholarship tax rebate program. As many as 380,000 Louisiana children will now be eligible to participate. A new scholarship tax credit program was also approved earlier this year in Virginia.
There are now 31 publicly-funded private school choice programs across the nation in 16 states and the District of Columbia. More than 210,000 children received scholarships through publicly-funded private school choice programs during the 2011-12 school year.