Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column
October 5, 1998
Tax measure includes version of Paul legislation
Parents should be able to provide for education without penalty

With the passage of new tax legislation last week, Congress is proposing that the American people be able to keep more of what they earn by providing more than $80 billion in tax cuts over the next five years.

While $80 billion is nothing to sneeze at, it should have been a lot more, and a lot deeper, but this is a very positive first step.

One such positive detail is that parents, under this legislation if it becomes law, will see the prepaid, tax-deductible tuition programs expanded to include private institutions. This means a parent can save for their kids education by contributing to a future-tuition payment account up to $5,000 per year, which can then be deducted from their gross tax income.

This is a version of legislation that my colleague Kay Granger of Fort Worth and I introduced last year. Our bill was called the Higher Education Affordability and Availability Act, HR 2847.

The bottom line is that parents should be allowed to provide for their children's educational needs without suffering a tax burden, and in the manner they see fit.

America's biggest education-related problem is not what often grabs the headlines, they are symptoms. It's not crime in the schools, not large classrooms, not a lack of books. The biggest problem is a basic lack of choice. Today, the average Texas family simply cannot choose what particular setting is best for their child. There are simply too many obstacles; the greatest of which is cost.

Last year I brought forward the Family Education Freedom Act, HR 1816, to address this issue. My legislation would allow parents to take up to $3,000 per year off their tax bill to pay for any of the education-related expenses of their children. The money could be used for private or religious school tuition, books, computers, field trips - anything which is part of the educational needs of a child, whether in elementary school or college.

Government must stop limiting the choices available to parents, and instead work to free parents of the taxes and regulations which keep them providing for their children in the ways best suited for their family.

The House of Representatives took a step in the right direction in the passage of the new tax-cut package, but we cannot stop there; more must be done. Our kids are counting on us.