La. Governor Vetoes Rebates for Public School Donors

June 8, 2012; Source: Times-Picayune

On Friday, in the midst of what the Times-Picayune called “a flood of bill signings,” Gov. Bobby Jindal took the controversial step of vetoing House Bill 1106, which would have provided tax rebates for charitable gifts to Louisiana Public Schools by state residents. As proposed by Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), the bill aimed to create an incentive for giving to the state’s low-performing schools, with gifts to failing schools eligible for a 75 percent tax rebate.

According to the Times-Picayune, Rep. Jackson drafted HB 1106 in direct response to another bill—that Gov. Jindal did sign—which provides rebates to individuals who support nonprofit organizations that structure private school scholarships. Citing her view on the veto, the Times-Picayune relays Jackson’s statement: “The only bill that sits on the governor’s desk which truly helps our public schools to receive much needed resources will not see the light of day.” Jackson added that the veto was “a blow to public education.”

Explaining his veto of Jackson’s bill, Gov. Jindal noted that the state budget simply does not allow for the rebates. Aware of the state’s budget limitations, Jackson included a budget cap of $10 million in the bill along with the specification that rebates for gifts to the state’s highest performing schools would not be included. Although some might wonder about the long-term implications of a policy that focuses on failing schools when the state’s entire public school system is struggling, Jackson’s proposal still might have been an approach to boost schools that are both under-resourced and under-performing. –Anne Eigeman