In an encouraging step for New Jersey children, the state’s Senate Economic Growth Committee has approved a K-12 scholarship donation tax credit bill like the ones already operating in Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, and Rhode Island. It would allow businesses to make donations to nonprofit scholarship funds that would in turn bring the option of private schooling within reach of low-income families.
Needless to say, the bill has earned the “intense opposition” of New Jersey’s large and powerful public school employees union. The last time somebody offered Jersey’s poor kids an escape from the union-dominated public schools, the union made that somebody an offer that was difficult to refuse.
The “somebody” in question was PepsiCo. As I wrote in Market Education:
In late October of 1995, officials of the Pepsi company announced at Jersey City Hall that their corporation would donate thousands of dollars in scholarships to help low-income children attend the private school of their choice. The immediate response of the local public school teachers’ union was to threaten that a statewide boycott of all Pepsi products could not be ruled out. Pepsi vending machines around the city were vandalized and jammed. Three weeks later, company officials regretfully withdrew their offer.
And you thought the Sopranos were nice.