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Politics

N.H. Senate Passes Bill to Expand Education Tax Credit Program

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Dan Tuohy / NHPR
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The New Hampshire Senate approved an expansion to the state's education tax credit program Thursday.

Under the existing program, businesses in New Hampshire can get a tax break when they make a donation to scholarships that qualifying families can use for educational purposes including private school tuition and homeschooling.

The bill that cleared the Senate yesterday would expand the program to allow individuals who pay the interest and dividends tax to also make donations and receive tax credits.

Republican Senator Bob Giuda argued the program helps students who aren't well served by traditional public schools.

"The more money we can get to this, the better we treat our kids in the system of education where these types of programs work for kids that don't work in a traditional school."

Democrats raised concerns about the constitutionality of the program and about what they called a “loophole” in the law wherein some individuals could receive tax benefits larger than their donations under the state and federal tax code.

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn criticized Democrats, arguing the bill was about helping kids.

"I truly, fundamentally, do not understand how people in this building are making decisions against kids' education based solely on a zip code."

The bill cleared the Senate on a party-line vote.

In a statement, Governor Sununu expressed his support for the bill, saying the tax credit program is “life changing legislation.”

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