Homeschoolers Can’t Get a Break– ND Senate Defeats Tax Credit

Senator Dale Patten (R - District 39) asks his colleagues in the North Dakota Senate to defeat HB 1281. Had it passed, it would have provided an income tax credit for those who choose nonpublic school options for their kids. (Photo via screenshot.)

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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About T. Arthur Mason 883 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.