MADISON, Wis. — In the state Senate Tom Tiffany has been a reliable vote for the special interests lobbying to take money from local public schools and send it to unaccountable private schools. And now it’s payoff time for Tiffany as the pro-voucher American Federation for Children is reportedly ponying an estimated $230,000 in TV advertising over just nine days to boost his election bid.
“Sen. Tiffany has left Northwoods schools and children up a creek without a paddle,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “While public schools have had to make cuts and lay off teachers, millionaires in Milwaukee get tax breaks to send their kids to private schools and millions more dollars pour into unaccountable private voucher schools.”
Ross noted that, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Tiffany voted to cut $24 million from schools in the 12th Senate District since 2010. Meanwhile Tiffany supported sending millions to private schools in Milwaukee, expanding the voucher program statewide and giving a tax break to millionaires who were already sending their children to private schools and academies.
The private school voucher program and the dramatic expansion Tiffany voted for will cost taxpayers nearly $260 million in this school year, according to Fiscal Bureau estimates. In total, the voucher program could siphon off up to $800 million from public schools to send to unaccountable private voucher schools. And a tax break Tiffany supported will cost $30 million to provide a deduction of up to $10,000, with no limits on income, for people who already send their children to private schools.
According to campaign finance reports, as a member of the state legislature, Tiffany has raked in tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy cabal of donors from across the country who support taking public tax dollars to support sending students to private and religious schools.
The payoff from the voucher special interests to Tiffany looks to be massive. As reported by the state news service Wispolitics, One Wisconsin Now obtained information from area television stations indicating the Washington D.C. based American Federation for Children has purchased $230,000 in ad time just between September 12 to September 21 to run spots to benefit Tiffany.
Ross concluded, “Sen. Tiffany has done the bidding of the private voucher school industry, taking money from taxpayers and public schools in the Northwoods and across Wisconsin and sending it to unaccountable private voucher schools and millionaires already sending their kids to private schools. Now we see the payoff from the special interests to Tiffany for selling out his constituents and their schools.”