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There is no oversight or transparency in the New Hampshire education tax credit (voucher) program

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New Hampshire’s education tax credit program, empowered to grant $8.5 million in tax credits in its first two years, is remarkable for its lack of oversight.  There is none.

The State’s 30 year old Community Development Finance Authority grants only $3.75 million per year in tax credits, funding $5 million in investments.  The CDFA offers a good model.  First the CDFA advisory committee questions potential awardees and makes a recommendation.  Then it goes to the board of directors which reviews and approves the project.  All businesses that receive CDFA tax credits are listed on the CDFA web site.

The Legislature took an entirely different approach with the education tax credit (voucher) program.  The voucher program will be authorized in the second year of its existence to grant $5.1 million, $1.3 million more tax credits that the CDFA does after 30 years.  A the voucher tax credit is nominally 85%,  But there is no oversight board or other oversight of any kind.

A single Department of Revenue Administration staffer approves or denies applications to be certified as a scholarship organization.  A single staffer approves applications from businesses  for tax credits.  Once a business contributes to a scholarship organization, there is an annual report that includes summary and per school figures, but no further oversight of the process of handing out the tax credits to students and schools.

The businesses themselves contribute anonymously.  Their names are not made public.

Few if any other states in the country have implemented an education tax credit program with so little oversight or transparency.

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