For several years, now there has a been a great debate in the South Carolina General Assembly about private school tuition tax credits. Outside money has poured into South Carolina, and paid political operatives well to contend for the issue. Never mind that legal precedents show it will result in private schools being regulated by the state or that it will not help the people that those who argue for the measure say it will. If not in this legislative session, at least by 2010, private school tuition tax credits will be a reality in South Carolina.
There are several reasons for the above. The first is legislative fatigue. The members of the General Assembly are human and frankly they are sick and tired of the tuition tax credit issue being such a big part of their legislative sessions. There is a sense, especially among Republican legislators, of just passing the legislation so it is not talked about anymore.
There is more than talk as stake as well. Legislators, especially Republicans, are growing weary of facing ne’er do well candidates in primaries who are well funded by outside of the state interests. The people of South Carolina seem to be too disengaged to care about how their state is being bought by outside interests, so their representatives are tiring of the fight. They will be likely to go along just to get a primary race out of the way.
Further, there is just a feeling of “let’s do this and move on” among many members of the General Assembly. The pro tax credit crowd has beaten down the General Assembly. Those guys seem to just want to do anything that will not bring up the issue, the money and the candidates again.
Also, the pro-public education crowd that opposes the tuition tax credits and the like has been weak and disorganized. There are well paid political operatives who dance to the same tune, so to speak on the side for private school tuition tax credits. Those well paid operatives are also willing to attack anyone involved personally at the least sign of opposition.
The pro public education crowd simply does not play by the same rules. They bring a political knife to a political gun fight. The pro public education crowd is divided on their message and weak when it comes to going for the political jugular. It seems the pro public education crowd lives under the illusion that the truth of matters will win out in politics. Their stance is naïve.
The pro tuition tax credit crowd plays hardball politics. That is why it would not shock VUI if some Senator or Representative shelved the tuition tax credit bill being considered now until next year. Next year will be an election year. Legislators tired of the argument and tired of facing ne’er do wells well funded by out of state donors will be more likely then to hold their noses and vote for the tuition tax credits to make the issue go away.
That is why VUI contends that either this year or next, tuition tax credits for private schools will become a reality in South Carolina. The pro public education establishment simply does not have the political chutzpa to prevent such.
However, knowing how the court system works, chances are a few years from now private schools will face government regulation. It happened to private colleges. It will happen to private K-12 schools. But, reading the political tea leaves, so to speak, it is inevitable. Taxpayer money will go towards private schools and with that money private schools will have to dance to the government tune. So much for real choice.
Such is the consequence of today’s political world. The better financed side wins, despite the fact that their argument might eventually hurt the people it claims to help. Helping people is not important these days. Doing what one is paid to do is.