Education Week: GOP Lawmaker Revives Push to Create New Tax Break for Home Schooling
January 24, 2018
A stalwart school choice supporter in Congress is trying to finish what the recently enacted tax reform couldn’t: a new tax break for home schooling.
Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., one of the biggest supporters of vouchers and charter schools on Capitol Hill, introduced legislation Wednesday to allow families to use money in 529 savings plans for home-schooling expenses. Messer said he intended to file such legislation last month.
The tax-code overhaul, signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, will allow 529 plans—previously reserved for higher education costs—to be used for K-12 expenses, including private school tuition. Families can take up to $10,000 each year from the plans for K-12 costs and still get a tax advantage. Shortly before Congress gave final approval to the bill, Democrats raised a procedural objection to the new language applying to 529 plans that would also have allowed the money to be used for home schooling. Ultimately, lawmakers stripped out this language before final passage.
“It’s unfair that Senate Democrats targeted home-school families in their endless attempts to block President Trump’s tax cut plan,” Messer said in a statement announcing the legislation. “Our legislation will make sure the 40,000 Hoosier children who are home schooled have the same opportunities and resources that every other student has.”
Messer’s bill also has the support of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Will Estrada, the association’s director of federal relations, applauded Messer for “standing up for home-school families in Indiana and all across the nation.”
You might recall that Messer is jockeying with another Capitol Hill school choice champion from Indiana, Republican Rep. Todd Rokita, to get the GOP Senate nomination this year to square off against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.