January 24 2012
New Hampshire Honors School Choice Week with a Bill of its Own
In honor of National School Choice Week, it’s worth pointing to a state that’s about to see real educational change take place. New Hampshire is poised to pass an education tax credit bill that would greatly expand educational freedom for the students of the Granite State.
Yesterday lawmakers introduced companion bills that would allow businesses to claim a tax credit for donations made to scholarship organizations that offer funds to school-aged children, including homeschoolers. This would not be the first tax credit program in the country. In fact, several states have smaller programs in place – including Florida, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – although New Hampshire’s law would be far more extensive and give many more children choice in education.
There is a debate within the school choice movement over the best policy prescription, namely vouchers vs. education tax credits. (Full disclosure: my husband Adam Schaeffer is a proponent of tax credits and offered advice and testimony on this New Hampshire bill). But advocates for tax credits argue they are the superior policy because they are more viable. In fact, tax credit bills have “withstood every state and federal challenge advanced against them” over the past 20 years.
In addition to the fact that The School Choice Scholarship Act is viewed as largely undefeatable in the courts, the New Hampshire bill is also believed to be revenue-neutral. Under the law, each student who leaves the state’s public education system to attend an independent school will, in effect, lower the state’s per-student spending on public education.
IWF places a high value on school choice because no issue is more personal than a child’s education. The School Choice Scholarship Act would be a win-win for the children of New Hampshire. And that would be something worth celebrating this week.