Published Online: February 1, 2005
Published in Print: February 2, 2005, as South Carolina

State of the States

South Carolina

Governor Encourages Tax-Credit Proposal

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Gov. Mark Sanford told South Carolinians last week in his State of the State Address that “economically and academically, things have to change” in the state.

The Republican governor called in his Jan. 26 speech for the state legislature, which his party controls, to approve his “Put Parents In Charge” plan. The proposal would allow families to claim up to $4,600 in personal income-tax credits for payments to private or public schools.

“For the state, and for the sake of these kids’ lives, I ask for this bill’s passage,” Gov. Sanford pleaded.

The school choice plan also would allow businesses to donate a portion of corporate income taxes to nonprofit scholarship groups that would dole out money for tuition. A similar program in Florida is used by thousands of low-income students.

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Read the text of Gov. Sanford's address.

But education advocates in the state last year opposed a similar plan from the governor, arguing any extra money should be focused on helping public schools. They also contended the plan mostly would aid private schools and families that home school.

Gov. Sanford added in his speech that low test scores and high dropout rates are “a disaster” for the state. He urged moderate increases in K-12 aid—even though the state’s school finance system is under court challenge. ("Passions High as S.C. Finance Case Comes to a Close," Jan. 5, 2005.)

Vol. 24, Issue 21, Page 27

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