Private school vouchers an issue in governor’s race

Private school vouchers an issue in governor’s race

The controversy over private school vouchers has entered Louisiana’s governor’s race. Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone was a major backer of the program’s 2012 statewide expansion while incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards remains an ally of traditional public schools. Voucher critics cite a lack of oversight, the quality of schools that accept voucher students and student performance. Rispone rejects the notion that he had such an influential role in the program. The Advocate’s Will Sentell reports. 

“They (vouchers) were already existing when I got on the scene. New Orleans already had vouchers.” Rispone agreed that the program has flaws, including private schools getting overwhelmed after admitting students behind their peers academically.”I would say this, it was done in a hurry, OK?” he said. “Some of those schools took those children in and were not prepared to take that many children that far behind.” Edwards said he opposed the legislation as a House member in 2012 because it was unconstitutional.


Paid loan, not paid leave
A new paid leave proposal by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Kyrsten Sinema falls well short of offering meaningful paid leave benefits and job protection to new parents and those facing family or personal health issues. It offers a loan that families would have to repay, not a new benefit, provides no new job protection for workers needing time away from work to care for newborn or adopted children and leaves out workers who need to care for their own serious health issues or those of a family member (including children). Kathleen Romig of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains:

Under the Cassidy-Sinema proposal, qualifying workers — those who become new parents — could receive $5,000 during the year following a child’s birth or adoption, which they would repay over the following decade through cuts in their Child Tax Credit. Families that earn too little to qualify for the full Child Tax Credit[2] would receive a payment replacing 100 percent of their wages for up to 12 weeks, which they would repay through cuts in their Child Tax Credit over 15 years. (To date, there are few details on how this low-income provision would work.)

LBP’s Stacey Roussel outlines a better alternative for Louisiana that would only require modest contributions from workers and employees and would ensure more than 80% of workers have up to 12 weeks off to care for themselves or a family member.

The threats to HBCUs
President Donald Trump boasts that his administration has boosted federal investments in historically black colleges and universities – up 14% since he took office. But this is still not enough as many HBCUs are still losing ground. Delece Smith-Barrow with The New York Times has the details:

Rising college costs, the student loan crisis and federal budget cuts have broadly hamstrung higher education. But it’s killing H.B.C.U.s, where nearly three in five attendees are low-income, first-generation students and over 70 percent of students have limited financial resources. Fifteen of them have closed since 1997. Public and private H.B.C.U. endowments taken together are now roughly 70 percent smaller than that of non-H.B.C.U.s. 

Tax Cuts and Job Act
The 2017 federal tax cut law delivered an historic income-tax cut for corporations that have boosted their profits and helped shareholders. But Isabel Sawhill and Christopher Pulliam of Brookings say the law should be tweaked to make tax policy more inclusive, and ensure that workers benefit more during good economic times. 

Tax policy can also play a role in incentivizing corporations to invest in their workers, promote inclusive growth, and look beyond quarterly revenue projections. The evidence we have on companies that have already done this suggests that it is not only consistent with making a profit, but that it could raise productivity, enhance long-term job growth, and lift wages.


Number of the Day
$78.8 million – Administrative costs over six years for Alaska’s restrictive Medicaid waivers that take coverage away from people for not meeting rigid work and reporting requirements. (Source: CBPP