CONCORD – Senator Molly Kelly and Senator Peggy Gilmour released the following comments on the Senate vote to table House Bill 370 which would repeal the private and religious school voucher program.
”This bill would repeal a private school voucher program that diverts public funds away from our public schools and directs private, non-profit corporations to allocate taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Kelly. ”This so-called “education tax credit” is in direct conflict with the NH Constitution by using public funds to pay for religious schools and limits state funds for public school districts, while downshifting the cost of reduced adequacy payments to local communities and property taxpayers.”
“The Voucher Program became law last year when the super-majority Republican Legislature overrode then-Governor Lynch’s veto of SB372. It was a misguided venture then and the same is true today,” said Senator Kelly. “I voted against this bill last year and I will be consistent and vote for the repeal this year. A bad policy is bad policy, no matter if it’s law or not.”
“I am vehemently opposed to the structure of the NH Education Tax Credit. It is terrible tax policy,” said Senator Gilmour. “The rules establish new definitions, organizational requirements, operational rules, and involve not one, but two state agencies. On the State’s website, the complex rules of the education tax credit take up 9 printed pages. In contrast, the R&D tax credit that this body so proudly doubled a month ago takes less than a page.”
“Our tax laws must be simple and fair, we know our federal tax system today is a horrible and complex mess because Congress has allowed special interests of all stripes to install complicated rules that provide benefits in a manner that is hidden from public scrutiny and accountability,” said Senator Gilmour. “The program has no accountability of public money. It allows private, non-profit corporations to determine where public education dollars are spent. Even with pages of new complex rules it fails to set up an accountability structure. How can we in good conscience continue to allow such a program to be law?”