As an editorial in today's Springfield News-Leader points out, vouchers by any other name smell rotten just the same:
Pay attention to how hard Missouri Republicans are working to convince taxpayers that this is not a school voucher bill and you can see the truth. This is clearly a school voucher bill. It would take up to $40 million out of state coffers in the form of tax credits and pass that money on to mostly private schools — many of them religious schools. How can Springfield Republican Bob Dixon, for instance — who campaigned as being against school vouchers — say with a straight face that this bill isn't a voucher bill?
The editorial advises to take a close look at who is supporting the bill, always a wise idea in Jefferson City or Washington:
Who's supporting this bill? Out-of-state groups such as All Children Matter, a public school privatization group; and the Missouri Catholic Conference, which stands to benefit most by the bill. The bill might as well be called the "Fund Urban Catholic Schools Act." The tax credit bill requires that 80 percent of the money donated by corporations or individuals seeking tax credits be given to private schools. If lawmakers in Jefferson City truly cared about improving public schools, there would be no such requirement.
It should be noted that the lengthy co-sponsor list for this bill includes four area representatives- Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, Ed Emery, R-Lamar, Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, and Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City.