Testimony Opposing HB 2457 - Tax scholarship vouchers

MainStream has submitted testimony opposing HB 2457, which would amend the existing tax credit scholarship act to make it even more obviously a tax-funded private school voucher program. You can read our testimony below.

Testimony to House Committee on Education
Hearing: Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 1:30 pm, 112-N


Chairman Highland and Members of the Committee,

The MainStream Coalition strongly opposes passage of HB 2457, making further changes to the tax credit for low income students scholarship program act.

Proposed changes to this act, which we found problematic when it was initially proposed and passed, make this program even less compatible than it already was with the Kansas values of equitable and excellent public education for all.

Provisions to open the funding of the program to any taxpayer, and to make the tax credit equivalent to 100% of the donation, is tantamount to making Kansas taxpayers pay 100% of a private school education. The state should not be in the business of funding private education with no regard for religious instruction, institution accreditation, or student outcomes.

In addition, the changes in student eligibility to any public school and any student below 250% of poverty turns this from an opportunity for at risk students to a lifestyle choice for disaffected parents.

The MainStream Coalition espouses the separation of church and state as one of our founding principles, and regrets that the proponents of this bill feel Kansas taxpayers should pay for private, religious schools. This bill will make that a reality.

As such, we oppose its passage.

Thank you for your attention,

Brandi Fisher
Executive Director
MainStream Coalition

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