My Action Plan
School Safety NEW 10/21/18
I will work on a Gun-Free School Zone bill
Students deserve to feel safe in schools, and adults should do everything possible to keep them safe. We can make it a crime to bring a gun onto school grounds.
We have a law that applies only to students, and in most cases the student must be expelled for a year. We have nothing that prohibits an adult who legally owns a firearm from bringing that weapon onto school grounds. Only three states do not have a Gun-Free School Zone law, Hawaii, Wyoming and New Hampshire.
I will work with other legislators on a bill narrowly focused on school safety. We can craft a law that will make schools safer without impinging on the right to own a gun. If 47 other states have been able to find a balance, then so can New Hampshire.
I will introduce a bill to update the Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program
If you are a homeowner your property tax bill includes a State Education Tax assessment of approximately $2.20 per thousand. That's a tax of about $220 per $100,000 of property value. For a $250,000 home (median value in NH) the tax is about $550.
If you are a low income home owner, you may be eligible for a rebate under the State’s Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program. 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 $220.
Established in 2002, the state’s Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief is a worthy program, but the income and property value maximums that were reasonable in 2002 are too low for today’s economy. For 2002 taxes, $7.7 million was rebated to 24,000 homeowners. For 2015 taxes, only $1.3 million was rebated to fewer than 7,000.
My bill will restore the intent of this program by updating the income and property value caps so more homeowners will qualify for fair and reasonable property tax rebates.
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 2019. I will advocate for increase funding.
I will introduce a bill to change Adequacy Aid
This is how the current Adequacy Aid formula determines the cost of an adequate education for school districts. It begins with a base amount of $3,600 for each student. Then it adds an extra $1,800 for each low-income student, and an extra $2,000 for each special education student. For all school districts in the state this comes to $750 million.
The State also funds charter schools, but it uses a base amount of $7,000 per student instead of $3,600. The higher base amount is difficult to explain given the fact that charters, which are quasi-public schools licensed by the State Board of Education, are exempt from most state regulations such as hiring only certified teachers, offering 44 specific high school courses, offering high school sports, and providing transportation. Charters receive the same $1,800 for each low-income student, while all services for special education students are paid for by the school district where the student lives, not the charter school.
My Adequacy Aid funding plan uses the $7,000 base amount for both charters and school districts. This would send an additional $400 million in aid to districts, and increase the percentage of expenditures covered by the State to 34%. That’s not enough to cover all the requirements specified in state regulations, but it will provide significant property tax relief for 70% of cities and towns. Aid going to Plymouth would increase by at least $500,000.
Fiscal Agent: Frances Taylor, PO Box Q, Holderness NH 03245