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Kevin Landrigan reported in today’s Nashua Telegraph that Republican operative Charles McGee helped fundraise for the Network for Educational Opportunity. Here’s the document. Notice the hyperbole and national ambitions.
Tax credit ruling
It won’t be too long before Strafford County Superior Court Judge John Lewis rules on the constitutional challenge to the education tax credit.
Even supporters of the credit are pessimistic about their chances of winning the case at this level, but confident the state Supreme Court will uphold the credits as not violating the ban on direct public aid to private or religious schools.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned a prominent Republican operative helped the effort to solicit tax credit donations, at least early on.
Email documents in the lawsuit confirmed that former GOP Executive Director Chuck McGee, a Spectrum Monthly executive, helped the Network for Education Opportunity prepare some of its marketing materials.
It isn’t shocking that New Hampshire Democratic leaders were critical of the group securing the services of McGee, who was convicted of charges for his role in the GOP phone jamming episode on Election Day 2002.
“Did Jeb Bradley and Andy Sanborn know their voucher attack on public schools was a taxpayer-funded payday for former NHGOP executive director and convicted felon Charles McGee when they defended it in the Senate last week?” Democratic Party communications director Harrell Kirstein responded in a statement.
This pitch from NEO also overstated its financial success, maintaining that $1 million in donations had already been committed.
NEO officials confirmed to state tax authorities less than a month ago that only $140,000 in donations had come in. They have maintained publicly that pledges for these tax credits are well in excess of that number, and they will show up before the June 15 deadline.
Mr. Lombardi touches on many important points here:
I have always supported the concept of public schools and object to the voucher program because it begins a process of taking tax dollars intended for public education and redirecting them to private and religious schools. I suppose one could argue that these are not tax dollars because the money is “donated” by businesses, however that “donation” has a real dollar value in the tax credits given back to the businesses. So the net impact is a reduction of tax money available for public education.
I don’t think it is proper for these manipulated tax dollars to be transferred to religious schools. The ACLU is challenging the law in court on the basis that state Constitution specifically provides that “no person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination” and that “no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools or institutions of any religious sect or denomination.”
My understanding is that the single organization identified to implement the program is a California group that actually says its purpose is to shut down public schools. My guess is that they provided the language for the legislation, lobbied for it and look to benefit from it.