This afternoon, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, welcomed final passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation designed to expand tax free
education savings accounts to include cover payments for private or religious school tuition along with other school expenses.
The vote was 225-197; final action on the measure in the Senate is expected early next week.
The legislation will give families more power over education spending. Families could use the savings of up to $2,000 a year and their tax-free interest for books, tutors, computers, transportation or other public school expenses if not tuition at private or parochial schools. Or the money could be saved for college.
The measure would expand tax-free accounts permitted by a law that President Clinton supported last year for college savings. The maximum allowed savings would grow from $500 a year to $2,000. Also, friends, corporations, employers and other sponsors, including family members other than parents, would be able to contribute to the accounts on a child’s behalf. Although crafted as a tax bill, the measure also has some strictly educational provisions.
One would create a literacy program, favored by Mr. Clinton, to help children learn to read. A literacy bill is needed in order for $210 million in already appropriated money to be spent.
Nathan Diament, director of the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs stated that “this vote is a welcome step forward in improving our nation’s education system for all children. We look forward to passage of this legislation in the Senate and continue to hope that the President will
recognize that it is in the best interests of our children and our future to sign education savings accounts into law.”