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House Bill 370 would repeal the education tax credit law passed last year over Governor Lynch’s veto. New Hampshire RSA 77-G created an education tax credit scholarship program that allows private and homeschool students to receive scholarships from Scholarship Tuition Organizations (“STO”) created under the statute. These STOs receive funding from businesses who receive a tax credit for their donations. The program was established to help families have more choices in education.
Opponents of the law say it is “unconstitutional” because it “violates the separation of church and state.” The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the law.
RSA 77-G was patterned after a similar law in Arizona. The Arizona law was challenged by Arizona taxpayers in 2010.
In 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional. HSLDA supported passage of New Hampshire RSA 77-G, and we are working with others to defend it. This bill, HB 370, threatens to overturn the hard-fought gains of New Hampshire RSA 77-G.
Please contact your Senator to urge them to oppose HB 370. In your own words, give your Senator the following message:
“Please vote against repeal of the education tax credit and against House Bill 370. The education tax credit law helps many families, regardless of their religion, who would otherwise be unable to provide for their children’s education. It is a worthy public policy goal for New Hampshire to support school choice and the education tax credit provides an incentive for businesses to privately assist needy families and receive a tax credit. This program helps ALL New Hampshire families in need regardless of their current educational setting. This same type of program has been held to be constitutional and effective in states like Arizona. Please vote against House Bill 370.”
To find your Senator and their contact information, click here.
1/3/2013 (House) Introduced and Referred to House Ways and Means Committee
1/23/2013 (House) Public Hearing Scheduled for 1/31/13, 12:30 p.m., Representatives Hall
2/14/2013 (House) Committee Majority voted Ought to Pass
2/20/2013 (House) Passed House of Representative (Vote 188-151)
3/7/2013 (Senate) Introduced and Referred to Health, Education & Human Services Committee
4/10/2013 (Senate) Health, Education & Human Services Committee voted Inexpedient to Legislate
4/18/2013 (Senate) Motion passed for bill to be Laid on Table
HSLDA supports tax credit programs which help families choose the kind of education their children receive. New Hampshire is the first tax credit program of this kind to allow for scholarships to homeschoolers. HSLDA is defending this program in the legislature and in court by authoring an amicus brief in favor of the program. The Institute for Justice is defending the law against an attack by the ACLU. If HB 370 passes and the law is repealed the court case will be moot depriving the law of an opportunity be heard by the courts. Although the ACLU argues the law is unconstitutional because it selectively funds religious educations, that claim is factually erroneous. Furthermore, identical programs have already been upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court.
For more information about this issues visit these links:
Read the Friedman Foundations take on the New Hampshire Tax Credit law here.
Read the New York Times article about the Arizona Supreme Court case here.
Read the U.S. Supreme Court Opinion here.
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