Concord, NH – Following the defeat of SB 204, which would have repealed the education voucher tax credit law, Senator Molly Kelly (D-Keene) offered the following comments:
“I am disappointed that our Senate Republican colleagues continue to support this unconstitutional law. Since the day I arrived in the Senate, I have fought for innovation in education and assuring that every child in the state of New Hampshire has access to a quality education. However, this law is not about innovation or access—it is about sending taxpayer dollars to religious schools.”
“Articles 6 and 83 of the NH Constitution clearly outline that the state has a responsibility to educate our children, but that the state can not send money to religious schools. Simply put: the education voucher tax credit is unconstitutional, is bad public policy, and needs to be repealed.”
The education voucher tax credit law was passed in 2012 and was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch. The Republican-controlled legislature overrode Gov. Lynch’s veto. The law was subsequently ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by NH Superior Court Judge John Lewis because it violated the NH’s separation of church and state (NH Constitution Part II, Article 83). On appeal, the NH Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2014 due to lack of standing by the plaintiff and did not rule on the constitutionality of the education voucher tax credit.