Legislative Update: Budget, budget, budget

State Budget Heads to the House Floor – Tell Your Rep. Don’t Support a Budget that Attacks Public Education!

The budget proposal being sponsored by House Republicans has a lot of problems in it for public education and will have a vote on the floor on Thursday April 6th. This budget contains a massive expansion of the school voucher program that will grow the program exponentially (we believe much more than the estimates that the Department of Education provided to the budget writers). The proposal goes far beyond what even the Governor suggested in his budget because several provisions have no income caps, so millionaires who are already choosing to send their kids to private schools will have this choice subsidized at the expense of public school students and taxpayers. In short, this budget takes a big leap toward making New Hampshire’s education landscape look more like Florida or Arizona’s universal voucher program. This is made even worse in the long run with the House Finance Committee amendment that cuts the inflow of revenue to the Education Trust Fund and takes out critical portions for which that dedicated funding ought to be used. The “Weyler Amendment” takes us backward in the way we fund education and tees us up the kind of funding scheme that Commissioner Edelblut and his allies would prefer; a state that has little to no role in funding education, except for perhaps a voucher system that leaves behind our most at-risk students. Additionally, for those of you who have prioritized targeted aid to help our communities who struggle the most to raise money for schools, the Education Trust Fund change will make that effort even more difficult.

On the education funding formula proposal itself, I would also urge you to look at what it does (or does not do) for below-average property value and income communities. Places like Berlin, Claremont, and others receive no additional funding over current law in this budget, so it is hard to see how this proposal makes the remainder of the education portion of this budget any easier to accept.

This is not an exhaustive list of our concerns with this budget. Accelerated tax cuts and not allowing some employees in higher education to access a defined benefit pension are deeply troubling, and these provisions should also be taken out of the budget.

ACTION REQUEST: Contact your State Representative before Thursday and urge them to:

  1. vote for any amendments that remove these attacks on public education so that we can pass a budget that works for all of our students, parents and taxpayers, and
  2. Do not support a House budget version that attacks public education and doesn’t support our students.