In 2012, New Hampshire began a tax credit program designed to provide a tax credit to businesses that donate money to organizations funding scholarships for low income students in the state. In turn, parents could use the scholarship funds to send their children to private or public school in another district. Parents could also use the funds to homeschool their children.
That wasn’t going to fly with a group of litigants—including parents, taxpayers and special interest groups—who challenged the tax credit program in January 2013. Within 5 months, as should have been expected, a New Hampshire superior court judge ruled the program unconstitutional. The “glitch” was that it granted scholarship funds to students who enrolled in religious schools.
But, in late August 2014, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire vacated the superior court ruling, insisting that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the program.
Reason.com reports that the Court’s decision challenged the plaintiffs’ assertion that they had been injured by the existence of the tax credit scheme because the law would take funds away from traditional public schools. That claim, the Court maintained, was entirely “speculative,” as it was unclear whether governments would see fiscal losses from an increase in the number of students using the tax credits.
This ruling allows New Hampshire students to continue receiving to benefit from the tax credits, thus allowing more low-income children to attend the schools of their choice.
However, the Court’s ruling did not uphold the constitutionality of the program, only that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge it. It’s not going to be long before the plaintiffs gather biased data transforming their “speculative” argument into a “real injury” and run straight back to superior court for another decision in their favor.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Reason.com article, click on the following link:
"N.H. Private School Scholarship Program Saved by a Technicality (But an Important One)."