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For Parents

Montana Single SFO found UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Why … only one SFO for donors to select from … just like (not so) Exceptional SC?

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We have been saying this for years … (not so) Exceptional SC has an UNCONSTITUTIONAL problem … and it is A BIG ONE and DONORS, especially corporate donors, know it!!! 

Why else do you think the “special interest” are trying to push through a 100% GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED Education Savings Account bill (ESA)? 

As soon as the SC program, which is technically MUCH WORSE / RISKIER than the one in Montana is found UNCONSTITUTIONAL as well … the SC Program will have to go back to INDEPENDENT NON-PROFITS and the monied “special interest” and government bureaucrats lose all their control and $$$$.  #FollowTheMoney!!!

US SUPREME COURT PROTECTION:  As we have reported in the past, one of the greatest LEGAL protections we have for these programs is the US Supreme Court ruling in Arizona Christian School Tuition Org. v. Winn, 563 U.S. 125, 131 S. Ct. 1436 (2011).  That case basically says that if you have MULTIPLE INDEPENDENT NON-PROFITS … then they CAN NOT BE SUED over these unconstitutional claims.  This case protects ALL the K-12 Tax Credit Scholarship programs and has been used to defeat legal challenges all over the country.  It is GREAT and it is one reason why K-12 Tax Credit Programs are the GRANDDADDY of school choice!!!

But this US Supreme Court protection is WORTHLESS to us when you have #1 only one SFO (like in Montana) and #2 the Government runs the one SFO (like in South Carolina).  Here is what the Montana Supreme Court said:

(For the Courts full opinion, click HERE.) Espinoza v. Mont. Dep’t of Revenue, 2018 MT 306 (Mont., 2018)

MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE CAUSE THIS:  And yes, just like here in SC, guess who caused this problem in Montana … their DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE.  We have been telling everyone for years, and senior legislators have confirmed this to us, that the SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE is “POLITICALLY” opposed to school choice generally and this program specifically.  Montana is just another example.

IT IS CLEAR … legally & administratively … (no so) Exceptional SC is a failure:  

Friends & School Officials, this is only going to get MUCH WORSE.  S 131 / H 3202 will END all this mess!!!  Focus on students .. not “special interest”.

For Parents

Government Demands ALL Scholarship Funds Returned!!!

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A Maryland 100% government run “Voucher” program started in 2016 has demanded the return of $100,000 in scholarship funds (all funds since the beginning of the program in 2016) from a particular Christian school because … basically … the government officials don’t like the school.

The article demonstrates what we have been saying will happen under 100% government control and administration of a private school choice program. 

(Click image above or HERE)

Technically they are saying the Christian school needs to add an anti-discrimination clause regarding sexual orientation … but other schools without the anti-discrimination clause are not being punished … so it appears to be more “targeting” of a specific school or administration.

That would never happen in SC would it?  We think it already is … but that is a longer discussion.

Anyhow, maybe you agree that XYZ school should not get scholarship funds for whatever reason … but just realize … one day … YOU & YOUR SCHOOL WILL BE “TARGETED” TOO.  Maybe it will be your Christian beliefs, or maybe because you are a Muslim school, or maybe it is because your school leader “speaks up” too much or angered the wrong politician … or the government officials don’t like the curriculum you are teaching … or you don’t use the particular “test” they want you to use … or whatever the reason … know that they will find a reason to “target” your school too … eventually!!!

Why do you think some school leaders today are so “quiet” when it comes to the blatant failings of (not so) Exceptional SC???  They don’t want to be “targeted” as some schools and parents have already been.  Read more here:  Racism? Favoritism? Or BOTH??

Hey, we don’t blame the school leaders or parents that remain silent … but trust that eventually … the government officials are going to come after YOU TOO!!!  

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For Parents

ESAs are Taxable Income … Death Knell for S 556?

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We have been preaching this for years now … ever since the “paid” special interest advocates pushed for a direct refundable parental tax credit … these payments are likely TAXABLE INCOME!!!

This week the Republican Attorney General & Republican Commissioner of Education found that the newly passed Education Savings Account (ESA) program in Tennessee would be TAXABLE INCOME to the parent recipients. (NOTE: Although the Tennessee ESA is currently the law, it was a major debacle getting it passed. It won by one vote, a Republican that only voted yes if they promised to keep ESAs OUT of his district … so the program is only in 2 out of 95 counties in TN and the school districts get reimbursed 100% for each kid that leaves … so the state is paying DOUBLE for those kids in the program … so it wasn’t “really” passed and like Nevada, our bet is it will be killed before it is ever implemented – costing taxpayers millions in the process.)

But you don’t have to take our word for it … watch and read the articles yourself.

Reporter Richard Ransom asks …. “Were lawmakers mislead? Were they lied to?” Our experience … YES!!!

https://newschannel9.com/news/nation-world/official-tennessee-school-vouchers-are-federally-taxable-income

The IRS rules are pretty simple … if you get a check from state government … you must provide that person with an IRS Form 1099-G … period!!!

What does this have to do with South Carolina? Well, do you get a refundable parental tax credit? Well, is that taxable income? We think it is … and that is why we opposed it. SC legislators can make the payment free from SC state income tax … but they have NO influence on making it FEDERALLY tax free. That is the reason NO OTHER STATE IN THE NATION has such a large refundable parental tax credit. Others states are not stupid … they know (like Tennessee has figured out) that these direct payments from state government is a tax problem. There are a few states with small $100 or $200 refundable education tax credits … and yes they are taxable too … but that is nothing like an $11,000 refundable parental tax credit. That is a HUGE tax bill.

And as other articles point out … this impacts the poor the most. Yes wealthy parents may get a $37% federal income tax bill … yes, keep hoping you don’t get audited by the IRS … but for low income families that might be subject to income limitations on their benefits, food stamps, ACA healthcare … this extra “income” may cost you more than you actually receive.

SC Legislators are aware of this problem … we have told them … but the “paid” special interest sing a different story. Well, what do they have to say now? Guess who has been WRONG almost every time … the “paid” special interest advocates. #FollowTheMoney!!!

Remember Palmetto Promise Institutes “Bigger. Better. Faster.” proclamation … read it HERE. These guys have no idea what they are talking about.

https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2019/11/19/memphis-senator-opposes-school-voucher-program-update/4239159002/

“This is a worst-case scenario for students, their families, the school districts and the state.” – TN STATE SENATOR RAUMESH AKBARI

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For Parents

ALEC gives (not so) Exceptional SC a “D-” for 2018

Permanent Law raises them from an “F” in 2016 & 2017.

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We are not the only ones that think the nation’s ONLY government run K-12 tax credit scholarship has been a total failure.  The national conservative group American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) has also rated the program a big fat “D-“.

Only “Permanent Law” which was signed on May 18, 2018 raised their grade from an “F” in 2016 & 2017 when the Department of Revenue & (not so) Exceptional SC took over administration of the program from independent non-profits. #FollowTheMoney!!!

Here is the ALEC report card on (not so) Exceptional SC.

And how does (not so) Exceptional SC compare to our neighbors in Georgia? Not so good. The $100 million Georgia program got a “B+”. And what is the main difference? Georgia uses independent non-profits!!!

Remember, South Carolina is the only program in the nation (23 total programs in 18 states) that is government run. All the others are administered by independent non-profits.

As the graph above demonstrates … the exact same South Carolina program got a “B” in 2014 … when the SC program was still a year-by-year budget proviso and run by independent non-profits.

The solution is simple and obvious to everyone … the only question is will legislators finally fix this debacle in the 2020 legislative session? Stay tuned …

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