he battle for education reform has landed in Missouri. Last week the Missouri legislature passed a bill that sets up a process for Educational Savings Accounts. The bill, sponsored by Phil Christofanelli, will allow Missouri taxpayers to claim a tax credit of up to 50% of their liability for contributions to educational assistance programs. The funds would be pooled in an ESA for use on tuition, textbooks and associated education costs, effectively establishing a way to direct money to school choice. The current program only applies to taxpayers in areas with populations at or exceeding 30,000 population.
Gov. Mike Parson can make it into law with a signature.
It’s important because it breaks open the process for families to start directing where their kids go to school without the financial barriers that currently exist and force them into underperforming public schools. It is not a panacea for school choice advocates, but this is a definite chink in the armor of public schools. Urban schools are first on the list, but rural schools are certainly up next.
Speaking of the governor, he made my day last week. Well, I doubt he did it, but some staffer tweeted this: “We have directed all state workers to return to their offices for in-person work no later than Monday, May 17, 2021, and that all state buildings be open and accessible to the public during normal business hours.”
This is it folks. This is the end of this crazy pandemic and the associated events. Listen, I’m smart enough to know that the virus is dangerous, and it will exist forever, but the closures must end. The government must get back to work. We have to stop the cancel, postpone and such that has become a permanent part of the last year. Mayors, city councils and health departments need to return to their “happy spots” and get out of the business of trying to manage a pandemic.
If one thing has been proved, managing a pandemic is not possible. It’s time to accept our new reality and live and work with this. Government can finally lead in something on this issue. They can lead by getting back to work in a “new normal.”
Most of us have not dealt with inflation in our adult lifetimes. You might ask an old-timer about it. It sounds brutal and we may be headed there. We are all seeing it in our daily lives. Car repairs are delayed for parts, car inventory is low, housing inventory is low, housing materials are high and the major companies that provide your everyday “staples” have already announced price increases are headed our way in the future. Diapers, paper products, pet food and more importantly people food is 3.5% higher than last March.
People will want to blame a particular political party on this, but I say we blame most all government. The flooding of our economy with money under the guise of pandemic relief will end up being the culprit and they all jumped on that bandwagon and it’s that same bandwagon that is going to run out of gas and roll backwards at us in the next few years.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or trying to avoid backwards rolling bandwagons)