Texas House comes out against school vouchers in initial vote

Rural Republicans joined again with Democrats to defeat the measure on an early vote.

By Rhonda Fanning and Wells DunbarApril 7, 2023 3:28 pm, ,

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have made a school voucher program a big priority this legislative session – but the proposal is getting a much cooler reception in the Texas House.

Patrick Svitek, primary political correspondent for The Texas Tribune, notes the proposal would create an $8,000 “education savings account” that parents could use to finance private or religious education instead of public schools.

“Gov. Abbott has made his biggest effort yet to get some kind of school choice legislation across the finish line,” Svitek says. “He’s been campaigning across the state, holding different events, trying to build pressure on lawmakers.”

“In the House, we’ve historically seen Democrats join with rural Republicans to oppose such proposals,” Svitek says. “There was a test vote on this issue during the budget debate in the House and by a vote of 86 to 52, the House approved an amendment to their budget prohibiting the use of state funds for school vouchers or other similar programs.”

“And so that was a blow to Abbott’s efforts to get something done on this this session. Although it was a symbolic vote, that shows that this is an issue that still faces an uphill battle in the House.”

For more stories from the week in Texas politics, listen to our interview in the audio player above.