My Position on NH Issues
It’s time to take a comprehensive look at how the State funds public schools
In 2000 all state aid for public schools went only to local school districts. Now we have quasi-public charter schools with a separate aid program, a private school/ home school voucher program (enacted in 2012), and direct state funding of an online school that can be used by any school aged resident of the state at no cost.
Should state funding for school districts be only $3,600 per student, when districts spend on average $15,000 per student?
Is a flat per student funding rate the best approach, or should district size and urban/rural be factors?
Should charters schools, which are exempt from many rules (such as using only certified teachers and providing transportation) be receiving $7,000 per student?
Should tax credits for business taxes and the interest and dividend tax be used to subsidize scholarships to private religious schools? Families with income below 3 times the poverty level ($75,000 for a family of four) are eligible. Tax credits mean less state revenue available for other programs.
The State’s top priority should be its constitutional responsibility to provide school districts with sufficient funding to cover the cost of an adequate education.
Public Schools should be Gun Free Zones
Students deserve to safe learning environment, and it is the responsibility of the school districts and the state to protect students from harm.
Funding for our public colleges and universities
Scholarships are a great idea for making college affordable for students, but maintaining quality programs is equally important. Quality programs will attract more students, and our graduates will have better career prospects. Great faculty, great programs and great students will attach new businesses to the state.
Each year the State provides funding to the University System (Plymouth State, Keene State and UNH) for their operating budget (this excludes building projects). This year's appropriation is $81 million. I will advocate for restoring funding to the 2009 pre-recession level of $100 million. In a state ranking of public per student college funding, NH is at the bottom of the list.
Putting People before Corporate Profits
Corporate ventures like the Northern Pass spend thousands of dollars on lobbyist. The people don't have lobbyists, but they do have elected representatives.
I will always evaluate proposals by finding the answers to "who will benefit" and "who will be harmed."
A Living Wage
We should adopt a state minimum wage, and set a course toward $15/hour
The current rate in NH is the federal rate of $7.25/hr. The 2018 minimum wage is $10/hr in Maine; $10.10 in Massachusetts, Rode Island and Connecticut; $10.40 in NY state and $10.50 in Vermont.
It's time to set a state minimum with a phase-in to reach $15.00 in a few years. With the current low unemployment rate, local employers are raising wages to attract workers, and the gap between the entry level wage paid by most businesses and $15/hour is shrinking.
If we want to attract young workers to NH, we need wages that are competitive with our neighboring states.
The State needs to pay its share
Last year school districts in New Hampshire spent more than three billion dollars to educate children in kindergarten through high school. 72% of that cost was borne by local property tax payers. That’s the highest percentage in the nation!
The key to lowering property taxes is for the State to start paying the cost of an "adequate" education, as the Supreme Court ordered. The basic per pupil aid amount of $3,600 should at least double. If the State pays a greater share, the local property tax payer will pay less.
Property tax reduction is part of my school funding plan.
Help for Low and Moderate Income Homeowners
Many retirees living on a fixed income find themselves spending 10% or more of that income on property taxes. Seniors should not be forced to sell their homes because they can’t afford the property taxes. Home owners of any age may experience an income loss and find themselves in need of assistance.
If you are a low income home owner of any age, you may be eligible for a rebate under the State’s current Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program. Unfortunately, the maximum tax rebate this program provides is about $220 per year. This program should be updated to help more homeowners.
Assistance navigating State bureaucracy
As a state employee for 30 years I know how to find information and the right contact person. I can't make decisions for state agencies, but I can find someone who will help you. I will do this for all the residents of my district.
Fiscal Agent: Frances Taylor, PO Box Q, Holderness NH 03245