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'Yes on NH 1': Restore taxpayer standing

September 19. 2018 8:49PM

When Bill Duncan sued to stop a scholarship program because some of the money would flow to private, religious schools, we believed he should have lost the case on its merits.

But he certainly had a right to challenge whether the state was spending taxpayer money in unconstitutional ways.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court rejected Duncan’s lawsuit in 2014, finding that Duncan lacked standing to challenge the business tax credits that funded the scholarships.

Duncan is joining with former Republican Congressman Chuck Douglas and a broad bipartisan coalition to form “Yes on NH 1.” The group will try to convince two-thirds of New Hampshire voters in November to approve a constitutional amendment restoring taxpayer standing.

For 200 years, New Hampshire residents aggrieved by what they saw as improper government actions could take their state or local government to court. But the New Hampshire Supreme Court stripped taxpayers of standing in a string of decisions arguing that plaintiffs must show specific harm beyond the unconstitutional use of their tax dollars in order to claim standing in court.

Approving this constitutional amendment would restore the right of taxpayers to challenge improper spending in court. We support a growing bipartisan consensus and urge voters to vote “Yes on NH 1”.


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