House Bill 340: An Act Promoting Parental Choice in Education

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Last Updated: March 17, 2011
House Bill 340: An Act Promoting Parental Choice in Education
Sponsors:
Representatives C. Vita, Christiansen, DeJong, Jones, L. Vita, Shuler, and Cebrowski and Senator Forsythe
Summary:

HB 340 would allow a town to grant a per child education property tax abatement to parents who choose to homeschool their children or enroll them in a private school.

HSLDA's Position:
Support.
Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

1/21/2011     (House)     Introduced and referred to Municipal & County Government Committee
2/17/2011     (House)     Public Hearing: February 17 at 11:10 a.m. in Legislative Office Building 301.
2/23/2011     (House)     Executive Session: March 1, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in LOB 301
3/02/2011     (House)     Majority Committee Report: Inexpedient to legislate (14-2)
3/02/2011     (House)     Minority Committee Report: Ought to pass
3/17/2011     (House)     The full house voted this bill ITL, by a vote of 227-114

Background:

Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system while they privately educate their own children. This "double taxation" is unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the tax burden of public schools they do not use themselves, a significant number of homeschool leaders are concerned about any effort to get benefits from the government. Most homeschool leaders agree that vouchers (direct payments from the government to private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the likely controls that would follow and the consequent loss of freedom that comes with such money.

As an alternative, HSLDA supports another vehicle: tax credits or in the case of a property tax state like NH, educational property tax abatement. Parents and individuals who provide for a child’s education privately would be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would otherwise have been used to fund public education. Education property tax abatement legislation gives parents who choose to privately educate their children a reduction in property taxes since they are avoiding what would otherwise be additional cost for their local school district. It appears from the bill that such authorizing language would simply “permit” the municipal authority to allow such abatement. Passage of HB 340 does not guarantee that any given municipality will grant such abatement. However, parents would have the option of petitioning their municipality for abatement.

Such a tax abatement offers several benefits:

  • Education property tax abatement will give parents true choice in education. This tax abatement will help reduce the “double tax burden” on parents who choose private or home education.
  • Education property tax abatement will benefit public schools. By encouraging students to attend private schools or homeschools, the tax abatement will reduce overcrowded public school class sizes and the student-to-teacher ratio, making more teachers available to public school students.
  • Education property tax abatement will benefit low-income families. This tax abatement provides additional opportunities for low-income families to choose the form of education that best meets the needs of their children.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History