The appropriate use of public funds should be a priority for policymakers. But those who object to legislation to provide more education options for Georgia’s children, on the premise that these bills will result in misspent public funds, should do a bit more homework.
The example always cited is Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program. A state audit of that program in the 2018 fiscal year found more than $700,000 in funds were misspent by participating parents. That dollar figure not only gets thrown around as if it’s the inevitable fate of any similar program, but as if it’s the last word in the matter. Neither is true.
I would not make a blanket prediction that a new public policy won’t have any problems; I’ve been watching government operate too long to be so naïve. But nor would I insist a past problem, later successfully addressed, is bound to be repeated. We should learn from others’ examples, not use them as an excuse to deny children the options they need to get the best education they can.
Kyle Wingfield is president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: www.georgiapolicy.