Contrary to the governor’s inaccurate accusation that the bills were “extreme,” we strongly feel the legislature’s actions were necessary and responsible. From independent redistricting to a bill ensuring health care providers would be fairly reimbursed for treating Medicaid patients, these bills were the product of countless hours of work by both legislators as well as citizens who gave up time from their days to tell their personal stories and provide valuable input into the process.
But as important as these bills were, the governor’s most ill-considered action was his veto of the state budget. After three decades of unsuccessful attempts to address long-standing problems such as inadequate public-school funding, the House and the Senate crafted a balanced budget that finally provided much-needed money for property-poor communities desperate to keep their schools open without crippling local taxpayers. In a state with a Constitution that requires all children have the opportunity for an adequate education—regardless of their zip code—making progress on this issue was one of our most important legislative priorities.
Another was property tax relief. For too long, local property taxpayers have been forced to pick up the tab as the state continues to downshift items like public school funding, pension funding, and state aid for infrastructure to local communities. The budget vetoed by the governor would have actually returned money to communities on the Seacoast like Portsmouth in the form of a revived revenue sharing program. The budget also would have let Portsmouth decide how to best spend the money.
So how exactly did the legislature plan to fund these needs? Not by adding a new sales or income tax—or even by increasing an existing tax. Instead, the new budget would have simply a stopped scheduled reductions in the state Business Profits tax and the state Business Enterprise tax. Those reductions largely benefit out-of-state companies and are less of a priority for many businesses than reductions in local property taxes. If they are allowed to go through, $93 million will be subtracted in much-needed funding from the “means” the governor likes to remind us we must live within.
The bottom line is that on Sept. 18 we will do the responsible thing. Instead of leaving these critical problems unsolved, we will vote to override the governor’s budget veto. We will be responsible to those who elected us and put their needs first. We know that our schools, our property taxpayers, and our families are depending on us to deliver a responsible budget that works for all of New Hampshire and not just out-of-state corporations and special interests.
Rep. Laura Pantelakos Rep. Rebecca McBeath Rep. Tamara Le Rep. Gerald Ward Rep. Peter Somssich Rep. Jacqueline Cali-Pitts Rep. David Meuse Portsmouth