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House Republicans Pulled Education Measure That Would Have Empowered Low-Income Parents with Educational Opportunities

For Immediate Release. September 17, 2002On September 12, 2002, children of low-income parents were tragically left behind academically as House Republicans failed to demonstrate leadership when they pulled the Back to School Tax Relief Act of 2002 (H.R. 5193).  One reason for this given by Republicans was that it was simply a matter of absenteeism as 12 Republicans were not present.  After going home for commemorations of the September 11th attacks, and since the House was not in session on Friday, September 13, 2002, this was a relatively minor education bill and the only legislation before the House.  As a result, more than 30 representatives did not return to Washington.  The House Republican leaders knew of the events of September 11th and should have scheduled the vote on the measure for another date because of the possibility of not having enough votes to pass it.  Democrats opposed the measure arguing it was just a private school subsidy.  Furthermore, if the bill does come up for a vote and is passed, there is no chance the measure would become law because it had no chance of passing the Senate.

For educational expenses (that include tuition for private or religious schools, tutoring, supplies, uniforms, transportation and computer equipment, for qualified parents of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade) the measure would provide a tax deduction of up to $3,000.  This deduction would be available to individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $20,000 or less, or couples who earn $40,000 or less.

Unfortunately, more children are having to attend public school against their parents’ wishes because parents cannot afford private school tuition as a result of the current economic downturn.  Most low-income Americans do not earn high income salaries necessary to send their children to private schools as the majority of Congress does.  Yet sadly, when the House had an opportunity to empower low-income parents to give their children educational opportunity representatives were absent.  However, when it comes to increasing their salary, no lack of effort was demonstrated.

So often, politicians say their whole purpose of pursuing a career in politics is to help low-income Americans.  Yet when given the opportunity as they had with this bill, they failed.  This measure would have given these children’s parents a chance to pursue educational choice or to provide them with tools they need to gain the skills students require to survive in the twenty-first century. Such opportunities would provide for a better education that would allow these students to help themselves to strive for a chance to earn a higher income than their parents.  However, the House could not find the time to give these low-income taxpayers educational tax relief that they really needed so that they could give their children educational opportunities they currently cannot afford.

"It is time for these hard-working taxpaying Americans to realize that lawmakers only care for themselves and how Washington can advance their careers not the careers of low-income children," said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute Of Public Policy.  So when November comes, low-income Americans should send a clear message to their representatives and say, “We do not have time for you.”  They should vote against incumbent lawmakers who feel that tax-relief for educational expenses is not worth their time.

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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