Just over a month ago, I wrote about Rep. Sebastian Ertelt’s (R – District 26) efforts to finally get some relief “for taxpayers whose children receive nonpublic school or home education”. House Bill 1281 passed the House 50-44 last month and hit the Senate earlier this week.
Those who follow North Dakota politics know that the Senate is far less conservative than the House. That meant a much tougher sell for HB 1281. As expected — and unfortunately — this proved to be the case. They defeated the bill 15-32.
Truly, homeschoolers — and others who choose nonpublic options for their kids — just can’t seem to get a break. Not only are these folks forced to pay for public education, but if they choose an alternative they get to pay for that too. Never mind that they represent a savings to the state of nearly $100 million. (Note: If you multiply the number of nonpublic schoolchildren in the state by the per pupil payment of just over $10,000, it comes out to $96 Million in savings.)
Had Rep. Ertelt’s legislation become law, it would have provided an income tax credit of up to $500 per child. Can you see how ridiculous it is that the Senate defeated this? Again, the state saves nearly $100 million, but refuses to give a $500 per child tax credit to those who pay for both types of education. Unbelievable.
What makes it even more ridiculous is the reasoning behind the defeat. According to opponents of the bill, the loss of tax revenue just goes “too far”. Senator Dale Patten (R – District 39) paraded out this ludicrous argument when he asked that the bill be defeated.
So, just how much was it that the state was projected to lose? According to the Fiscal Note, a whopping $6.63 million per biennium. Seriously.
Bismarck isn’t broke. It’s just broken.
(Note: This was the second time that Rep. Ertelt’s legislation has been defeated. A similar bill was defeated in the House during the 2019 Legislative Session.)
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