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Republican State Rep. Dennis Bush said he personally has problems with Education Savings Accounts for Iowa families.

“I have problems with public tax money going to a private religious school,” Bush said.

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He has, however, drafted a bill to allow parents who have students in private school to be rebated the school portion of their property tax.

“I don’t have a problem with that part,” he said. “It was their money, it’s going to support education. Their children are not taking advantage of that public school system. So, I think it’s as much a matter of fairness as anything that while they have students in a private school that that money should go to help pay for their children’s education. When their children graduate, then they have to contribute that money back to the school system. That’s as far as I’m willing to go on it. Whether that has any future, I don’t know.”

The Iowa Tuition Grant, however, allows Iowa college students to receive public money and use it at private religious colleges and universities. We asked Bush about his position on the Iowa Tuition Grant.

“That’s previous legislation and I didn’t have any input,” he said. “I wouldn’t try to kill it, but I have to say I’m a little uncomfortable with that.”

We then asked about SNAP (food stamps) benefits being public dollars used in private grocery stores. And Medicaid benefits being used at private hospitals, many of which have religious affiliation.

Bush said those are federal issues, but we pointed out that the Iowa House has multiple bills in the chamber dealing with SNAP right now and he could amend any of them to make it so public SNAP dollars can only be used at government grocery stores.

Bush then said he is talking about education specifically when it comes to his concern of public dollars being used at private institutions.

“I’m talking about education and the formative years of, you know, a person’s life to basically to stop any public money to going, having public tax dollars going to private schools,” Bush said.

We asked whether public dollars for preschool end up going to private religious schools or preschools.

“I mean, I have problems with that,” Bush said. “I also have problems with weakening our rural public school system.”

 

Author: Jacob Hall

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