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Friday
Jan112013

School Voucher Law Suit Won't Really Matter

            Here’s a dirty little secret right wingers won’t like to hear, but it’s all so true.

            The law suit challenging last year’s Republican-passed school voucher bill (over Governor John Lynch’s veto) most likely will be irrelevant before it’s even heard in court.

            That’s because…are you ready for those three most important words in politics?

            ELECTIONS

            HAVE

            CONSEQUENCES    

            Concord Representative Mary Stuart Gile has already filed a bill to repeal what many of us consider an unconstitutional bill (yes, I’m proud to anger several regular readers of this blog by noting that I’m a co-sponsor).

            The repeal will pass the House easily.

            That means that 13 Senate votes will be needed to pass it on to Governor Hassan’s desk for a signature.

            Let’s assume that all 11 Democrats stick together (a logical assumption considering the nature of this bill).  Then only two Republican votes will be needed, and we don’t have to guess where they’re likely to come from.

            On June 27, 2012, Lynch’s veto of this voucher bill (Senate Bill 372) was overridden by a 16-7 vote.  Since there were only five Democrats at the time, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that two Republicans went against their party.

            You can probably guess which two.

            You probably know that they are both back this year.

            You’re way ahead of me.

            They are the two senators I noted earlier this week as being most likely to join Democrats on any given issue, Nancy Stiles and Bob Odell.

            Unless they change, the voucher bill will most likely be repealed.

            And well it should be.

            As I’ve written and stated on the House floor before, I don’t oppose vouchers.  However, there are two sections of the New Hampshire Constitution which prohibit ANY tax monies from going for religious education.  Republicans in control tried to circumvent these provisions last year by allowing businesses to provide education vouchers while at the same time getting tax breaks for doing so.

            No matter how you launder the money, it’s clear to me that amounts to using tax more for religious education.  After all, less tax money is generated as a result of the breaks to businesses that provide religious school vouchers.

            Even beyond the constitutional argument, allowing tax breaks for vouchers is bad policy; it's to the everlasting shame of usually clear-headed Republicans (no names, please) who allowed themselves to be bullied into supporting this travesty by Billy The Bully Currently Without A Pulpit. 

            Legally,  it’s a no brainer as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to the legal arguments.  I’m no lawyer, and as I noted earlier this year, when a high school teacher used to give us historical court cases to review, I came out on the losing (that is to say minority) side as often as the other way around.

            My level of confidence in being on the prevailing side this time is fairly high, but I’m even more confident that it won’t really matter.

            Elections have consequences, and on of the consequences of the 2012 election is bye, bye to vouchers (at least quetionably legal ones).

            Of course, I have been wrong before.

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Reader Comments (3)

Your legal argument does not make much sense. If a tax credit counted as tax money going toward religion, then religious private schools and churches wouldn't be property tax-exempt.

The law is highly unlikely to be overturned by the courts: http://www.cato.org/blog/aclu-attacks-educational-freedom-live-free-or-die-state
January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGraham Nadig
As they say in German, wir werden sehen.

I for one am always highly suspicious of someone who expresses as much certainly as Graham; kind of like saying it's highly unlikely the Baltimore Ravens will beat the Denver Broncos or the New England Patriots. In law and sports, highly unlikely is not a term to be tossed about lightly, but Graham has a right to his opinion.
The point of this blog was to point out that the court very well might not matter; that the legislature might well repeal the voucher bill...at least if past votes are an indication of future votes.
January 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterRep Steve Vaillancourt
And the consequence is – not surprisingly with regressives at the helm – that even fewer chilt'ren will have a choice in which school they attend. But remember the ad slogans: dems are all about choice and diversity. FORWARD!
– C. dog only sees monochrome emitting from the gilded dome
January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog

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