Many thanks to the Virginia Autism Project and young Mr. Di Bari for shooting this great video.
Republicans Highlight Legislation Extending Coverage
for Diagnosis & Treatment of Childhood Autism
– House Bills by Greason & Hugo would Extend Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders –
– Focus is on Early Intervention for Children Ages 2 Through 6 Years Old –
RICHMOND, VA – Seeking to strike a responsible balance between the needs of families and businesses, Delegates Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun) and Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax), along with Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and others, today highlighted their commitment to extending coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for children ages two to six years old affected by it.
The House Commerce and Labor Committee today voted 15 – 6 to approve HB 2467, sponsored by Delegate Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun). HB 2512, sponsored by Delegate Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax), was rolled into Greason’s bill. The vote followed an extended debate by proponents and opponents, and was the culmination of repeated attempts to pass similar legislation during the past several years.
“As a businessman with many years of experience in the private sector, HB 2467 not only is the right thing to do, but will be a huge help to so many families who have children with autism,” said Delegate Greason. “Hundreds of families will get the care they need to help make a real difference in the treatment of this disorder.”
“Early diagnosis and treatment for children with autism is very important to families coping with autism,” said Delegate Hugo. “Since the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys are affected by autism, our two bills will help improve the future of many children diagnosed with autism.”
Delegate Greason’s HB 2467 would extend private-sector insurance coverage for early intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorder from ages two through six-years old up to an annual maximum benefit of $35,000, unless a company’s plan elects to provide coverage in a greater amount. The bill also does not apply to employers with 50 or fewer employees, a commonly accepted measure of small businesses. Delegate Hugo’s HB 2512 largely mirrors the Greason legislation, but includes applied behavioral analysis (ABA) as a covered service for children of state employees with autism who are ages two through six-years old.
“Like so many, I commend the strong leadership of Delegates Greason and Hugo in the effort to provide identification, diagnosis and treatment to children affected by autism spectrum disorders,” said Speaker Howell. “Early diagnosis and treatment of this neurological disorder is the key to effective care and treatment for children with autism and their families. I’m also pleased that these House bills include provisions that take into account the impact on the bottom line of businesses and the state budget. A balanced approach like this makes sense.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Lana Westfall
January 27, 2011
(804) 698-1132 or email@example.com
Courtesy of Bearing Drift
Could legislation involving school choice tax credits become a hot issue during the General Assembly session? Apparently so. Yesterday, John Taylor, President of Tertium Quids sent out an email regarding his disappointment on Del. Tag Greason’s (R-Loudoun) decision not to sponsor their school choice tax credit legislation. The Tertium Quids legislation was modeled after a study authored by Dr. Adam Schaeffer of the Cato Institute and would provide 100 percent income tax credit for individuals and corporations that spend their own money to help educate a child.
Taylor said in the email:
Now for the bad news. In addition to property rights, Tertium Quids has fought to bring competition and choice to Virginia’s school system. Cato’s Dr. Adam Schaeffer, the author of our policy study on the subject, has drafted a bill that would provide a 100 percent income tax credit for individuals and corporations that spend their own money to help educate a child. His plan is modeled after laws that have been extremely successful and now enjoy broad bipartisan support in both Florida and Pennsylvania.
Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason (R-32) of Loudoun County contacted us last year about that policy study and our bill. After several frank discussions Del. Greason committed to being our patron in 2011. Unfortunately, with less than three weeks to go before the start of the session, Del. Greason has gone back on his word, allowing some of the more timid members of his party to convince him that this year is not “ideal” for a strong school choice bill. Instead, Del. Greason wants to try yet another “camel’s nose under the tent” approach, the same approach that has utterly failed every year for the past decade.
That’s not political leadership. In fact, Del. Greason and his Republican cohorts seem to have missed the message the grassroots has been sending for the last 18 months. We don’t want any more excuses; we want courageous, principled leaders who are unafraid to get results.
Greason, in an interview, regarding his decision not to support the Tertium Quids legislation
(From Del. Tag Greason) I am actually carrying a Bill (Chief Co-Patron with Del. Jimmie Massie) that pushes VA further on School Choice than we have ever been.
I am a huge proponent of School Choice, and will continue to work hard to make it a reality in Virginia. My goal is to ensure that every child has the ability to benefit from a broad based Universal Tax Credit program, and that every citizen and corporation has the ability to donate their state income tax liability to help pay for the expenses associated with educating a child outside of the Public School System. I will continue to talk about it, learn about it, and convince people of the many benefits that a Tax Credit program can bring to Virginia.
When I began studying this issue….(remember, I am NOT a career politician or a life time legislator, so there is much to learn)….I realized that MANY people had gone before me while working on this issue. Mr. Taylor and I crossed paths somewhere along my journey and we agreed that our goals on Tax Credits were in alignment. Being new to this issue, I accepted what Mr. Taylor had to say, and I gave my WORD that I would study the issue and come back to him to let him know if I would in fact carry the Bill or not. This is the only WORD that I gave to Mr. Taylor…and I kept it.
While Mr. Taylor and I believe in the same end game, we do not necessarily agree on how to get there. And since my approach to solving this problem is not the same as Mr. Taylor’s approach, he has decided to mis-represent our “agreement” and has put into question my “word.” As a graduate of the United States Military Academy, I do not react kindly to someone who questions my integrity and honor…and I certainly do not appreciate it when someone does it dis-honestly, like Mr. Taylor has.
Notwithstanding Mr. Taylor’s attempt to tarnish my reputation, I will continue to fight for what I think is right….in the way I think we can get the best result. I do not pretend to know everything on this or any other subject, but I have done a ton of research and I believe the effort to bring real School Choice to VA will make more progress on this path than on any other.
While I agree with the premise of the legislation proposed by Tertium Quids, I think we need to look at this from a fiscally responsible perspective. If you grant 100 percent tax credit to families, there is the potential that this could cost the state more over time. This could be viewed as another example of an unnecessary government expenditure by many taxpayers, etc. A more appropriate tax credit is being proposed in the legislation co-patroned by both Greason and Massie.
School choice is needed now more than ever, since educational standards in public education continue to decline. Parents should have the opportunity to choose the best education for their children, regardless if it is public or private. There has been successful legislation introduced in both Florida and Pennsylvania regarding tax credits for school choice. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pointed this out in his Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday, when he said, “Choice is the catalytic converter here, accelerating the benefits of other educational reforms.” Florida’s public schools improved academically due to school choice reforms.
With the success of school choice reforms in Florida and Pennsylvania, the question remains: Will Virginia embrace tax credits for school choice?