Austin--The Texas Catholic Conference is celebrating the April 21 passage of the Tax Credit Scholarship Bill by a vote of 18-12 in the Texas Senate. The legislation provides a tax incentive to businesses that donate to non-profit scholarships, which help low-income families attend accredited private/public schools of their choice or to obtain educational assistance.
“This was a tremendous victory for parental choice in education,” said Dr. Jeffery Patterson, executive director of the Catholic Conference. “It provides qualified families with scholarships of up to approximately $5,900 (or about three-fourths of what the state pays per student in public education funding) for private school tuition or $500 scholarships to public school students for after-school activities, tutoring, and transportation.”
Patterson said that much of the credit for the success of the bill goes to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, State Senator Paul Bettencourt and Senator Larry Taylor, who devoted tremendous time and resources to its passage.
“Texas parents owe a great deal to their leadership and commitment,” Patterson said.
A tax credit plan has been strongly supported by the Texas Catholic Conference as proven way to effectively improve school choice for families. Texas Senate Bill 4 is based on tax credit plans that have been immensely popular and effective in other states, including Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. These programs have succeeded in defraying private education costs and saving money for public school districts in these states.
School choice tax credit legislation now heads to the Texas House of Representatives for approval. The Texas Catholic Conference urges you to contact your State Representative to voice your support for school choice tax credits at http://bit.ly/1r77Hi8.
Demonstrating notable unity, the pro-life community April 22 came together in support of HB 3074, which requires the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration for patients who wish it, unless the provision of food and water causes harm to the patient.
The Texas Alliance for Life, the Texans for Life Committee, Texas Right to Life and Texas Catholic Conference all signed onto the legislation, authored by state Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and committed to work to see the bill through passage in both the Texas House and Senate and encourage the signature of Texas Governor Gregg Abbott.
“This is a refreshing and inspiring collaboration for groups committed to the protection of life,” said Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life Committee. “I am indeed proud to have been part of the effort to forge this important consensus.”
“We are honored to be a part of this agreement among these pro-life groups,” said Joe Pojman, PhD, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “Mothers, unborn babies, and vulnerable patients deserve no less.”
Current law provides no criteria for when and how a decision to remove artificially administered nutrition and hydration may occur.
“It was essential for legislators to establish strict and clear rules for the rare circumstances in which a doctor may have to consider withholding food and water because it exacerbates the suffering or brings about the death of a patient,” said Jeffery Patterson, PhD, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference.
The bill is expected to pass through the House State Affairs Committee and be on the floor of Texas House as early as next week.
The Texas Catholic Conference (TCC), which is the public policy voice for the Bishops of Texas, is tracking over 500 bills pertaining to Catholic moral and social teachings. The Conference encourages all Catholics to be faithful citizens and engage in advocacy during and after the legislative session. Learn more about TCC at www.TXCatholic.org. You can also find the TCC on Facebook, www.facebook.com/TXCatholic and on Twitter,