Voucher bill wins House nod
Legislation that would vastly expand the state's corporate income tax credit scholarship program, adding $30-million to the budget, passed out of the House on an 86-30 vote. A House analysis projects the measure would save the state $5.7-million in fiscal 2009 by decreasing the number of students in the public school system.
A similar bill is moving through the Senate. Critics have blasted the underlying concept of growing the program at a time when lawmakers are reducing public education funding by about $1-billion. But those arguments have yet to carry much sway in the halls of Tallahassee.
Notably, eight of the 18 members of the Black Caucus - Oscar Braynon II, Ronald Brise, Jennifer Carroll, Charles Chestnut IV, Terry Fields, Matt Meadows, Daryl Rouson and Betty Reed - supported the bill. Five other Democrats - Bill Heller, Janet Long, Ron Saunders, Michael Scionti and Darren Soto - also backed the legislation. Not a single Dem backed the program when it was first created in 2001.