School-choice advocates consider an alternative to vouchers.
This article originally appeared in the National Review on July 27, 2001 at http://www.nationalreview.com/daily/nr072701.shtml.
By John J. Miller & Ramesh Ponnuru
There has been a revival of interest on the Right in tax credits for private-school tuition, both because school vouchers have had so little political success and because tax credits are less likely than vouchers to bring about government regulation of private schools. Andrew Coulson, the author of Market Education: The Unknown History, made the case that school-choice proponents should back tuition tax credits rather than vouchers for the Cato Institute earlier this year.
In a recent issue of Imprimis, Lawrence Reed, head of a free-market think tank in Michigan called the Mackinac Center, makes an additional point for the superiority of tax credits that we hadn't considered before: "[M]ost people are naturally more sympathetic to tax credits because they are more familiar with them.having already used them year after year. When a voucher plan was on the ballot in Michigan in November 2000, yard signs popped up all over the state declaring 'No Vouchers!' It's hard to imagine a similar proliferation of 'No Tax Credits!' signs, had that been the choice before voters.. It is not surprising, then, that of all the statewide ballot initiatives for educational choice in the past 30 years, the one that holds the record for securing the greatest percentage of the popular vote is the 1998 Colorado tax credit initiative (about 41 percent). It was poorly crafted, underfunded, and it came out way too late for its proponents to have enough time to inform the public. But it still beat by a good margin the highest popular vote than any voucher plan has ever won."