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By Meghan Ashford-Grooms July 24, 2011

Proposal never cleared committee

During a July 2010 stop in El Paso, Gov. Rick Perry vowed to help tackle the problem of high school dropouts.

Speaking at Sierra Machinery, which sells and rents heavy machinery, Perry announced his proposal to give businesses a $1,500 sales tax credit for each of their full-time employees who returns to school and receives a diploma or earns a GED. To be eligible, a business would be required to provide the employees with at least two hours of paid time off each week to study or attend class.

Perry said his goal was to get 5,000 dropouts to participate in the program each year at an annual cost to the state of $7.5 million.

After the 2011 legislative session began, Perry again pushed for the program in his February State of the State address. "Let's offer employers a $1,500 tax incentive for every employee who earns their diploma or GED after receiving two hours off per week with pay to study or go to class," Perry said.

We asked the governor's office what became of the initiative. Spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told us in an email that state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, had filed legislation to create the program but that it had "failed to make its way through the legislative process." Madden's House Bill 2355, filed on March 7, was similar to Perry's proposal, although it would have allowed businesses to receive their incentive as either a sales-tax credit or refund.

Madden's bill never made it out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

We rate this promise Broken.

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