EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 24, 2013

New tax credit program fights for survival

(Continued)

“I think it is a very poor way to govern,” she said. “To reverse it is irresponsible.”

Students can receive scholarships of up to $2,500 if their families meet income guidelines.

For a family of three, the income limit is $57,000; for a family of four, $69,000.

The program encourages private-sector donations for education, saving the state $8 million a year, Baker said.

As an incentive to donate, businesses are offered credits against what they owe under the state’s business profits and business enterprise taxes.

There is a $3.4 million limit on credits granted in the program’s first year.

The program is viewed favorably by the Catholic Diocese of New Hampshire, spokesman Kevin Donovan said.

There are students attending 28 Catholic schools in the state who could benefit from the scholarships, he said.

“We support the education tax credit program,” Donovan said. “Any move to repeal it we are opposed to.”

Republicans fight for program

Supporters of the program include House Republican Leader Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, and Deputy House Republican leader David Hess, R-Hooksett. They issued joint statements following last week’s vote.

“Choice in education should not only be available to the rich,” Chandler said.

“We now have businesses who have committed donations and families who have applied for scholarships who are in limbo, not knowing if they will be able to receive those scholarships.’’

Hess said he agrees.

“Now, a politically motivated bill has threatened to end the program before it can be fully accessed,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate for those families and children who could benefit.”

Several Southern New Hampshire lawmakers pushed for the program’s creation last year, including former state representatives David Bates, R-Windham, and D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem. Bettencourt, former House speaker, was the lead sponsor of one of the two education tax credit bills.

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