New bill extending tax deductions for K-12 expenses is charging through the U.S. House.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Schaffer (CO-4) is taking President Bush\’s "No Child Left Behind Act" one step further. He has proposed an education bill (HR 5193) that will allow families to claim more than the $3,000 deduction that Bush enacted last year as part of his tax relief package.

Schaffer is sponsoring the "Back to School Tax Relief Act," which will enable individuals with an adjusted gross income of $20,000 or less to claim "qualified expenses," such as tuition, fees, academic tutoring, special needs services, books, supplies, uniforms, transportation, and expenses incurred for purchasing a computer. Any family that falls into this income level ($40,000 or less for married couples) and has a child at the K-12 level in public, private, religious, or home school will be eligible.

"Tax credits for educational expenses would allow parents to redirect their own money to pay expenses at a school that best meets the needs of their child," Rep. Schaffer said in a speech supporting Bush\’s act. But Schaffer\’s bill goes even further, giving tax relief to those lower-income families who are most likely to need the assistance, helping to ensure that less advantaged children can have the educational opportunities that they deserve.

"Bob Schaffer\’s plan puts children, not the bureaucracy, first," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "It would be a shame if the freedom to adequately school our children were not available, simply because parents could not afford the cost of the education that best suits their children."

Unlike the a voucher system, Schaffer\’s bill will simply allow parents to claim their child\’s education as an expense, instead of transferring taxpayer money to private schools. This plan will not affect the church-state barrier of religiously affiliated schools and will help prevent added regulations to private, parochial, or home schools.

"Parents, teachers, and even their unions have no reason to block this legislation," continued Norquist, "because to do so would be anti-parent, anti-teacher, and most importantly, anti-child. And who by God would want any of those labels?"