Senate Republicans said that the tax credit isn’t being given a chance. The program is capped at $4 million for the first year, but thus far businesses have only donated $140,000.
They said that sum isn’t larger because of the uncertainty created by repeal efforts.
“This program is just getting started,” said Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, arguing that the programs effect on state aid dollars to school districts won’t be any greater than students relocating out of the district.
“School choice isn’t just about those with means,” said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. The maximum income for eligibility is $57,000 for a family of three and $69,000 for a family of four.
Democrats also said that the tax credit is unconstitutional because it diverts state funds to religious schools. The program is being challenged in Strafford County Superior Court on those grounds.
Republicans said legal challenges to the constitutionality of similar programs in other states have failed. Stiles said even if the legal challenge is successful the scholarships could still be used at private nonreligious schools.