For Immediate Release
January 10, 2014
CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today submitted an amicus brief urging the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision that diverting taxpayer dollars from public schools to religious schools violates the state constitution.
"The education voucher tax credit program is a misguided policy that undermines New Hampshire’s public education system and violates our state’s constitutional separation of church and state,” Governor Hassan said. “The New Hampshire Constitution explicitly prohibits the use of public funds for the benefit of schools or institutions of any religious sect or denomination. Diverting millions in already limited education funds from public to religious schools violates this important constitutional protection while making it more difficult for the state to meet its obligation to provide an adequate public education to all of New Hampshire’s young people.”
Governor Hassan filed her brief in the case of Duncan v. State of New Hampshire.
The Governor’s brief, submitted by counsel, makes three key points: 1) New Hampshire’s Constitution is clearer than the federal constitution in prohibiting tax dollars from being used for religious institutions, both to prohibit state endorsement of a religion and to protect religious institutions from state interference; 2) New Hampshire case law has repeatedly treated tax credits as public expenditures of taxpayer dollars; and 3) The diversion of public money to religious schools through the education voucher tax credit program could undermine the finances of local communities and undermine the state’s ability to meet its responsibilities, including to provide every child with the opportunity for an adequate public education.The full amicus brief submitted on behalf of Governor
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