State Sen. Robert Ford has provided another reason not to support his likely run for governor in 2010.
The Charleston Democrat, who has expressed interest in running for governor, announced in February that South Carolina could solve its economic woes by legalizing video poker again. He contends that resurrecting video poker could bring millions of dollars in new revenues to the state but apparently has forgotten the misery that was the chief byproduct of video poker.
Last week, Ford was attempting to resurrect another bad idea: tax credits for children to attend private schools. Ford and a host of Republicans filed the Education Opportunity Act, which would put money now going to public schools into tax credits ranging from about $1,000 to about $4,800 a year for attending private schools.
Bills to create vouchers or use tax credits to encourage students to leave public schools for private institutions have died repeatedly in the Legislature since 2004. But that has not kept advocates from trying to keep the idea alive.
Voucher lobbying groups such as South Carolinians for Responsible Government and Clergy for Educational Options remain active in the state. And out-of-state voucher activists — notably New York multi-millionaire Howard Rich — continue to pump money into the campaigns of friendly candidates in the state, hoping that South Carolina will be the incubator for the spread of vouchers nationwide.
Ford now is the most prominent black supporter of diverting taxpayer money to private schools. While some black groups in the state, including Clergy for Educational Options, also support this effort, many blacks don't