Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Web Extra: A Little Tax Credit Backstory

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 5:09 AM

1d12/1239193329-cover_resized.jpgIn today’s issue, we look at the latest tax credit proposal in the Statehouse and we mention the tangled history of tax credits in S.C. But we also talked last week with Will Folks, Gov. Mark Sanford’s former spokesman and now a blogger at FITS News, about the history of tax credits and vouchers in South Carolina and a little about the future of the current proposal.

Sanford started out of the gate late in 2003, waiting too long to release his education proposals, he says. While the governor has been supportive of school choice, Folks says Sanford has never gotten passionate about the effort.

“I’m not convinced that the governor has ever put his energy into the education debate. He’s a budget guy,” he says. “It’s not quite on the front burner.”

Folks, a tax credit advocate, says that everything Sanford first proposed has been morphed and tweaked.

“I think you’ve seen an evolving effort,” he says. “This version is a pretty fair compromise.”

He says the rocky past of the voucher debate shouldn’t hamper the tax credit proposal.

“People are smart enough to make a decision on what is in the proposal,” Folks says.

And growing dissatisfaction with South Carolina’s ranking nationally and a widening achievement gap may provide fresh support for the private school options.

“There’s a chance you can see movement this year because there’s frustration out there,” Folks says. “Even our smartest kids are falling behind the rest of the country.”

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