By a vote of 10-7, the House Ways and Means Committee voted yesterday to recommend Ought to Pass on HB 370 to repeal the voucher program that was passed last year. In making the OTP motion, Chairwoman Almy said that the program was too costly and complex, provided too little benefit and that, if the law is declared unconstitutional, the State would be liable for all court costs.
Although there has been a lot of debate on the voucher program itself and on the repeal, there still seemed to be some fundamental misunderstandings about the program. One committee member thought that the participating schools has been “accredited” by the state, which is not the case. In fact, voters have good reason to be concerned about educational quality of many of the schools that could participate. He also asserted that there was no state tax expenditure involved in the program although the fiscal note makes clear that there is substantial cost to the State, which is passed on to the school districts, and much the voucher legislation itself is concerned with managing the impact of the program on the state budget.
HB 370 will be voted on by the full House on Wednesday, February 20.