Carl Davis

Carl Davis is the research director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Recent Articles

How States Turn K-12 Scholarships Into Money-Laundering Schemes

“School choice” happy talk obscures how privatizing education dollars allows wealthy taxpayers to scam the government.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock) P oliticians have long had a knack for framing policy proposals, however controversial, in terms that make them more palatable to voters. This is why unpopular tax cuts for the wealthy are often sold as plans to “invest” in America or to stimulate “growth.” Likewise, school voucher programs that funnel public money to religious schools are cast as “school choice,” because underwriting parochial schools with taxpayer dollars is controversial. The “choice” frame has heightened public awareness of school voucher programs, and helped their advocates make significant inroads in convincing states to allow the use of public dollars for private schools. Obscured in the spin, however, is how some states, in their zeal to subsidize private schools, have created an egregious tax scam that allows wealthy taxpayers to profit by donating to private school scholarship funds in return for lucrative tax credits. Many states have constitutional provisions that expressly prohibit...