When the Florida Legislature passed its education tax credit program in 2001, only one Democrat supported the measure.
Last year, the legislature expanded the program with votes from one third of statehouse Democrats, half the black caucus and the entire Hispanic caucus.
Last week, nearly half of House Democrats —47 percent—voted to significantly expand the revenue base for the state’s business donation tax credit program. House Republicans voted 100 percent in favor.
And yesterday, nearly a third of Senate Democrats—31 percent—voted to expand the tax credit program. And 92 percent of their Republican colleagues voted for the bill.
In all, 43 percent of state Democratic legislators voted in favor of education tax credits. Governor Crist is expected to sign the bill shortly.
They are not alone.
In 2006, Democratic governors in Arizona, Iowa and Pennsylvania signed new or expanded tax-credit initiatives. That same year, a Democrat-controlled legislature in Rhode Island passed a donation tax credit. A Democratic governor and legislature in Iowa raised their tax credit dollar cap by 50 percent in 2007.
Partisanship on choice is fading away because many politicians have come to realize that school choice saves money and children. The truth is beginning to spread; school choice is the most proven and effective systemic reform available.
The future of education reform is looking bright in the Sunshine State and across the nation.