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Sen. Cruz: We Are Seeing a Broad Coalition Come Together to Support the Education and Opportunity of Students and Hardworking Americans

Continues ‘Education Opportunity Tour’ in Austin

April 17, 2019

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AUSTIN, Texas - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday continued his ‘Education Opportunity Tour' of Texas schools, workplaces, and college campuses with a roundtable discussion in Austin, Texas. Sen. Cruz introduced the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act earlier this year, which would expand elementary, secondary, and vocational education opportunities for students by providing a federal tax credit to encourage individuals and businesses to donate to nonprofit scholarship funds.

Still photos of the roundtable may be viewed here.

"We just finished a roundtable here in Austin with Texas Public Policy Foundation and business leaders from throughout the state focused on the need for more investment in education," Sen. Cruz said. "Focused on the need for workforce development and for developing skills and craftsmen to meet the needs of the Texas economy. I've introduced legislation that would provide $10 billion a year, $100 billion over 10 years, in federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship granting organizations that are granting scholarships. Both to K12 education to enhance the educational options for kids throughout Texas but also scholarships for workforce development, for apprenticeship, for people who want to train to become carpenters, electricians, plumbers, welders, or all of the many skilled tradecraft throughout Texas where there is an incredible need."

"We have adults in the state who need to gain skills to compete in this new environment," Sen. Cruz continued. "That combination together of investing in education for our kids, improving the public schools for every kid, and also investing in adult education to develop workforce skills, that is, I believe, critical, for the future of Texas. I am so encouraged by the coalition we're seeing coming together of business leaders, labor leaders, community leaders--all of whom are focused on the benefits for Texas kids and for the economy and the future of the state of Texas."

"Texas has a thriving economy with countless opportunities for skilled workers. The Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, introduced by Senator Cruz, would provide tax credits for training and apprenticeship programs to enable hardworking individuals the ability to build a career and provide for themselves and their families," said Kevin Roberts, executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "The Texas Public Policy Foundation was honored to host Senator Cruz and business leaders from across the state to discuss this legislation."

"The Texas economy is diverse, innovative and a job creation leader in our country, generating significant demand for skilled workers across all sectors of the Texas economy," said Jeff Moseley, CEO, and president, Texas Association of Business. "The Texas Association of Business applauds Senator Cruz's leadership and supports the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, offering an industry aligned solution to provide employer tax credits for financing scholarships to upskill the Texas workforce and close skills gaps. We are pleased to join the coalition supporting its passage."

Sen. Cruz began the "Education Opportunity Tour" in Houston with a visit to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) construction site, where he met with construction workers and highlighted the importance of workforce training. Later, Sen. Cruz traveled to Rosenberg and toured the Texas State Technical College Fort Bend County campus and held a roundtable with faculty and students.

Key provisions of the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act include:

  • Optional for States: State participation is optional - an issue important to prevent extending federal control over education.
  • State Directed: States maintain the authority to create a program that works for them. States can decide which students are eligible for the scholarship credit, what constitutes eligible educational expenses and eligible educational providers, and more.
  • Encourages Workplace Training Education: There is more than one pathway to success, and our rapidly-changing 21st century economy means that workers need new skills to compete. In addition to elementary and secondary education scholarships, this bill allows for scholarships related to career and technical education, apprenticeships, certifications, and other forms of workforce training for postsecondary students.
  • Prohibits Federal Control of Education: Clarifies that nothing in this act shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any increased regulation or control over any aspect of a participating educational provider, scholarship granting organization, or workforce training organization. This allows all education providers to be able to participate, without fear of federal control.
  • Helps Our Most Vulnerable Students: Many low- and middle-income students cannot afford tuition and educational expenses themselves, or do not have the means to pay for the workforce training needed to secure a stable, high-paying job. This tax credit will provide scholarships for these students, so that they can have the opportunity to receive an effective and successful education that prepares them for the future.

 

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