Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle proposes giving Iowa parents a tax-deduction for preschool costs. Nussle would expand the current $250 tax credit for parents who send their kids to a private school to $1,500. And Nussle would let parents take the credit for preschool expenses, not just K-through-12 tuition.
Nussle believes more Iowa parents would opt to send their kids to preschool because of the tax break. He estimates parents with kids in preschool or a private K-through-12 school would avoid paying about $10-million in state taxes under his proposed credit. Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, has proposed spending $15-million in each of the next five years so the state would ensure every Iowa four-year-old is in a quality preschool.
Nussle says rather than manditory, government-run preschool, parents — not the government — should be making decisions about preschool. “Who said government ought to be in charge of kids?” Nussle says. “If there are problems, certainly the state is there and the locals are there to step in and help if there are challenges, if there’s a child in need of assistance. We always know that but we’re talking about expanding education here and this is an expansion that parents ought to be intimately involved in.”
Nussle says giving parents a $1,500 tuition tax credit for preschool in addition to K-through-12 tuition will encourage more parents to be more involved in their childrens’ preschool education. During an appearance on Iowa Public Television, Nussle called Vilsack’s preschool proposal the kind of “pandering, big government solutions” Iowa’s Democratic governor offers to solve problems.