Monday, June 8, 2009

School choice could spur property-tax cuts

In order to have true property-tax reduction and reform, "we must address the problem at its source," writes state Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), chairman of the House Government Modernization Committee:
Approximately 85% of local property taxes go to Oklahoma's education system. This money is in addition to approximately 3.5 billion dollars that we appropriate for common and higher ed and does not include the amounts from all other sources such as some federal grants. A report by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs demonstrates that Oklahoma taxpayers probably spend more than $10,000 per year for each student.

Oklahoma should offer a $4,000 tax credit to those parents who choose to educate their children in the private sector where they can receive a more cost-effective education. This would empower parents with the ability to determine where their children receive an education (one of the most important choices a parent will make), and would save taxpayers thousands of dollars per student. This very practical move could allow dramatic reduction in property taxation and would take a tremendous amount of pressure off the public education system because the schools' case loads would be reduced.


Heather Babes said...

I wanted to let you know that I wrote an article about your post here. You can view it at

:) Thank you!

Brandon Dutcher said...

Thanks for the post and the questions you raised. Please note that the ideas raised in the post were not mine but rather those of state Rep. Jason Murphey (though I happen to agree with him on this matter).

As for your first question, I happen to think parents who homeschool their children should also receive a tax credit. My guess is that Rep. Murphey would agree. As for question two, I suspect $4,000 is a number Rep. Murphey chose simply to illustrate his point. The actual amount, of course, would be whatever legislators decide upon.

As for your third question, I would argue that the problem is not that the public school system doesn’t have enough resources. You might ask Tulsans like Deborah Brown or Rev. Donald Tyler or other inner-city private-school operators what they could do with more than $10,000 per pupil. (Average private-school tuition in Oklahoma is less than $5,000.) And there is no question that per-pupil expenditures would increase if Oklahoma implemented a school-choice tax credit (see, for example, this spreadsheet tool:

As for special-needs kids, the purpose of this blog is to promote more choices for parents—especially choices outside the government’s monopoly school system. States like Arizona, Florida, and Ohio already offer school choices for special-needs children, and Oklahoma should do likewise (see, for example:

Heather Babes said...

Mr. Dutcher,

Thank you for your reply comments. I'm still not convinced that the theory presented by Rep. Jason Murphy is necessarily the right way to go, although I see I have a lot of reading ahead of me :)

Before I posted my comments, I did scan the categories links on your blog site here and did not see posts about special needs, so thank you for the link to those!

And thank you for a timely response to my article! :)