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Malicious: NH's anti-child House

February 21. 2013 7:19PM

If you want an example of politicians knowingly harming the very people they claim they care about the most, look no further than Wednesday's vote to repeal the state's tuition tax credit law. What House Democrats tried to do to the educational prospects of struggling schoolchildren is nothing short of malicious.

Last year the Republican-led Legislature passed - over Gov. John Lynch's veto - a law that lets businesses take a tax credit for 85 percent of the value of donations they make to an educational scholarship program for lower-income students. Families who have incomes of no more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level may use the scholarships to help finance the cost of a private-school education.

Democrats strongly opposed the law last year. With their big House majority this year, they made killing it a priority. The House voted 188-151 Wednesday, largely along party lines, to repeal it.

For the children who would receive these scholarships, the law is an unmitigated good. They get to attend a school that works for them. What about the children who remain in public schools?

Democrats claimed that these children would be harmed by a loss of funding. Nonsense. For each child who takes a scholarship, the state loses 85 percent of $2,500, or $2,124. But the state pays public schools about $4,700 per child. For each kid who takes a scholarship, the state comes out about $2,575 ahead.

What about local schools? The law caps the amount any public school could lose at 1 percent of the school's budget.

This law does not harm any children. It helps the most vulnerable ones by giving them tickets out of failing schools. It helps those left in the failing schools by giving administrators and teachers stronger incentives to improve student outcomes.

Those positive, pro-child results are exactly why Democrats voted to kill the law. Their goal is not to help kids, not to educate them, not to help them prosper. Their goal is to maintain complete control over them by forcing as many as possible to remain in government schools, regardless of whether those schools function well or not at all. This vote was plainly and transparently anti-child. May the Senate have the wisdom to maintain hope for these children by killing this vile bill.

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