A tax credit program is New Hampshire’s best option for school choice. It is well established within New Hampshire case law that tax exemptions aimed at promoting education for all New Hampshire citizens but incidentally affecting religious institutions are constitutionally acceptable. They serve a legitimate public purpose and comport with New Hampshire’s “uniform and reasonable” and “fair share” tax laws as interpreted by New Hampshire’s state courts.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of vouchers under its Blaine Amendment, but it did suggest in its 1992 advisory opinion that they would violate the Blaine Amendment. Although advisory opinions are not binding legal precedent, they can be persuasive to courts in subsequent cases. One potential way of avoiding the Blaine Amendment would be to use a non-tax source, such as lottery proceeds, to fund the program.
Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Great Schools Tax Credit Program, Family Education Tax Credit Program
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