My Action Plan
Study Commission and the NH Supreme Court
By January 2021, the Commission to Study School Funding (proposed by a bill I co-sponsored) will release its recommendations for improving the allocation of school aid and suggestions for a revenue source to fund increased aid.
It is likely that sometime in 2021 the State Supreme Court will issue a ruling on ConVal School District’s claim that to meet its constitutional obligation, the state must double the amount of aid it sends to school districts. At the same time, the economic effects of Covid-19 will make estimating revenues and expenditures less predictable.
With my experience as a school district business administrator and funding expert at the NH Department of Education, I am prepared to participate in the crafting of a new school funding plan. I will testify before House and Senate committees on bills that impact property taxes and school funding. My priorities will be:
Any plan must significantly lower property taxes.
Pitting property rich against property poor towns is not a solution. Towns don’t pay property taxes, people do, and there are rich and poor homeowners in every town.
Any new revenue plan must be based on a person’s or a business’s ability to pay.
Aid must not be just a flat per student amount. District size, special populations (such as refugees), and transportation costs must be factored in.
Any new plan must be comprehensive, addressing all the state programs (at least 7) for funding of kindergarten through high school (public and private).
Stopping the scheduled aid reduction
Since any new funding plan in response to a Supreme Court decision will likely take more than a year to implement. I will sponsor a bill to add a one-year extend to the 2020-2021 supplemental Adequacy Aid so Plymouth will not lose $275,000.
With the economic impact of Covid-19, now is not the time to expect taxpayers to pay more.
Property Tax Relief for Low and Moderate Income Homeowners
In 2019 I introduced a bill to update the Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program. It would have increased the maximum statewide tax rebate from $200 to $350. The bill passed the House. When Covid-19 hit, the Senate was force to abandon work on this and many other bills.
I expect the School Funding Study Commission will recommend changes that will eliminate or reduce the statewide property tax. So I will closely legislation and advocate for options that will provide property tax relief, particularly for low-income home owners.
In the meantime, if you are a low income home owner, you may be eligible for a rebate under the current State’s Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program. www.revenue.nh.gov/assistance/low-moderate.htm
Eligibility is based on the adjusted gross income used for federal income taxes. (Social Security income is generally fully or partially excluded from adjusted gross income.) To qualify, adjusted gross income must be under $20,000 for a one-person household or $40,000 for a two-person household. Unfortunately, the rebate only applies to the first $100,000 of property value, so the maximum rebate is about $200. The application period is May 1 through June 30.
University System funding
I will testify before the House Finance Committee.
The State uses a 2-year budget. The process to develop the next budget will begin in January 2021. Due to Covid-19, revenues with be down and difficult to estimate. Unlike the federal government, the State can spend only as much money as it takes in. I will advocate for a reasonable increase in University funding.
Fiscal Agent: Frances Taylor, PO Box Q, Holderness NH 03245