The New Hampshire Supreme Court has decided nothing about the voucher tax credit program. Why not use that money for a real public purpose?
Before the misunderstanding spreads too far, it is important to point out what the recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision actually said about the constitutionality of the voucher tax credit law:
The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to sue, so did not address the underlying constitutional issue of state funding to religious education. Editorial opinion so far does not support the court: (more…)
We, the plaintiffs, want to thank our attorneys, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for their committed work on this very important case to settle the question of whether New Hampshire’s recently passed voucher tax credit program conformed with the requirements of the New Hampshire Constitution.
While we challenged several provisions of the law, the central question was whether our constitutional prohibition against using state funds for religious instruction, even if that funding was provided indirectly in the form of tax credits to businesses who contributed to the program.
New Hampshire Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the voucher tax credit program to be handed down Aug. 28 at 9:00AM
The decision will appear here on the Supreme Court decision page.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard the voucher tax credit case yesterday. Both sides stated their cases clearly and concisely. The justices had many pointed questions and Chief Justice Linda Dalianis complimented the legal teams for the quality of their briefs on this legally complex case. Here is the video of the hearing.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has set 9:30, April 16 as the date for oral arguments in the voucher tax credit case. The hearing will take place at One Charles Doe Drive, Concord, NH 03301.
Each side will have 15 minutes to argue its case.
The Concord Monitor gets it right on the voucher tax credit law:
It’s not every day that the attorney general and the governor find themselves publicly at odds over important state policy, but it happened this week – and thank goodness.
At issue is a 2012 law that set up a tax credit program for businesses, essentially rewarding them for donating money to a fund that provides “scholarships” to help some children attend religious or other private schools, receive home-schooling or attend a public school outside their home district. Controversial from the get-go, the program was approved by the Legislature over the veto of then-Gov. John Lynch.
A superior court judge ruled last summer that the program could not be used to support religious school education. And this week Gov. Maggie Hassan weighed in, filing a brief encouraging the state Supreme Court to uphold the lower court ruling – in opposition to the attorney general’s office, which is defending the law.
“The governor treasures the diversity of private schools in our state, and fully appreciates their contributions to tolerance and learning. But the decision to contribute to a private religious school is a personal decision. It should not be supported by the state’s tax structure, and it should not have the effect of diverting scarce taxpayer dollars from crucial public needs,” Hassan said in her brief.
She’s right. The Supreme Court should do as the governor suggests. And, beyond that, the Legislature should pull the plug on the entire program.
read the rest here:Editorial: Education tax credit program should be repealed | Concord Monitor.
The State’s media: Gov. Hassan urges high court affirm strike down tax credits for religious schools
Here’s Kevin Landrigan in the Nashua Telegraph on the Governor’s amicus brief asking the NH Supreme Court to strike down the voucher bill. The brief itself is here, along with the many other briefs opposing the law.
CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan urged the state’s highest court Monday to strike down a state law that gives business owners tax credits to support religious school scholarships.
In a brief filed by her lawyers, Hassan said Strafford County Judge John Lewis rightly decided tax credits supporting religious schools violated separation of church and state.
“The education voucher tax credit program is a misguided policy that undermines New Hampshire’s public education system and violates our state’s constitutional separation of church and state,” Hassan said in a statement.