Report: Idaho Ripe for Increased Educational Options

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · December 15, 2011

Indianapolis, IN—A tax credit program designed to expand educational options for Idaho K-12 students would be a natural extension of existing Idaho policy, according to a report released today by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and the Institute for Justice.

Expanding Choice: Tax Credits and Educational Access in Idaho was authored by Dick M. Carpenter II, Ph.D., director of strategic research for the Institute for Justice. It examines individual and corporate tax credit programs in Idaho between the years 1994 and 2010.

“Educational options for families have expanded steadily during the past 30 years, and 2011 was a year of unprecedented growth for school choice,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Yet Idaho families have not seen their options increase. This report shows how more choices could be extended to Idaho’s families through a tax credit scholarship program for K-12 students, building on existing Idaho policy.”

An educational tax credit program would coexist with more than a dozen tax credits in the Gem State that together represent only a small fraction of total tax revenue, finds the report. It highlights that Idaho already has a tax credit for donations to private schools. Although this credit encourages private investment in private schools, a tax credit supporting student scholarships would take that policy a step further by enabling more families to choose their schools.

“Twelve states already offer 16 different tax credit programs that allow taxpayers to receive a tax credit for donations to private organizations that offer tuition scholarships. Given Idaho’s existing tax credit policies, there is no reason Idaho families should be left out of this growing movement,” said Dick Carpenter.

In July, the Wall Street Journal declared 2011 to be “The Year of School Choice” after 13 states enacted school choice legislation and another 28 states had legislation pending. Expanding Choice shows how Idaho can become a leader in the school choice movement by expanding its educational options.

To read the full report, visit