Scott Tibbs
Open letter to the Legislature
February 26th, 2005

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Oppose HB 1009 and HB 1726

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs <>
To: State Representative Peggy Welch <>, State Representative Matt Pierce <>, State Senator Vi Simpson <>
Subject: Oppose HB 1009 and HB 1726
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2005 15:33:54 -0800 (PST)


I am writing you in reference to two bills before the Indiana Legislature. One bill would effectively establish vouchers for Indiana's school system and another would allow Monroe County to establish a Food and Beverage Tax. I am opposed to both.

I graduated from Grace Baptist Academy in Angola in 1992. While a voucher allowing some of the money that went to Steuben County's government schools to follow me to GBA would have been a benefit to my family, I oppose HB 1009 and any attempt to create vouchers for private schools in Indiana.

I support school choice, and I support efforts to allow parents to choose between government schools. However, vouchers that would pay for tuition at a private school invites government meddling in those schools. As has been demonstrated so often in the past, "with government money comes government strings." I do not want Christian schools to face the risk of being forced by a court ruling or legislative edict to choose between their beliefs and the continued flow of taxpayer dollars.

I do not have a problem with tax credits that would benefit parents who choose another method of education than the government school system. These tax credits would benefit not only parents who send their children to private schools, but parents who choose to home school their children. Vouchers leave the door open to government intrusion while tax credits do not.

I oppose HB 1726, the bill that would allow Monroe County to establish a Food and Beverage Tax. I supported earlier legislation that would enable all counties to establish such a tax, because that legislation advanced the cause of fiscal home rule. I believe local city and county councils should be able to set tax policy without too many restrictions from the state.

This legislation, however, does not represent fiscal home rule. This legislation establishes a special exception for Monroe County that does not apply to all counties in Indiana. The state Supreme Court has recently cracked down on such special legislation, which should be reason enough to reject this bill. A better reason is that state law should treat all local governments the same.

I encourage you to vote "no" on both bills.

Scott Tibbs