Monday, May 19, 2008

Now what? Pursuing a new amendment

The editorial below poses the question, "Now what?" regarding education funding. First we have a spending problem and not a funding problem. The Union Leader hits the nail on the head it is about an income tax. For those readers who believe an income tax will solve the problem I have a bridge to sell you. By no means will an income tax permanently solve the property tax burden. Because our school systems will continue to spend at a rate above inflation so an income tax will not cover their spending so your school districts will come begging for more money because "its for the kids." Check it out yourselves it happens everywhere. Second those pushing an income tax will have a direct financial gain from a passage of said tax. It is much easier to lobby the legislators for more money because they are spending other people's money not their own. Educrats know this that is why they do not want local control. They are hoping local taxpayers are foolish enough to fall for the income tax scheme. A tax is a tax which pocket it comes from will effect the control you have over how it is spent.


We don't need an amendment. We need a Legislature with enough backbone to stand up to the court and defy their unconstitutional mandate.

The amendments proposed so far are dangerous and do nothing to prevent more frivolous lawsuits.

Strike the "cherish" clause if you think an amendment is necessary. All these other amendment plans simply strengthen Claremont by writing into the Constitution a responsibility which doesn't presently exist.
- Jim Peschke

Now what? Pursuing a new amendment

Sunday, May. 18, 2008

WHAT WAS billed as the state's best chance at getting a constitutional amendment on education funding failed miserably last week. The compromise amendment worked out by Democrat and Republican leaders could not even draw the support of a simple majority in the House, never mind the 60 percent it needed to pass. So the question is: Now what?

Opponents of an amendment are thrilled. Their quest to shift all responsibility for public school funding to the state has passed another hurdle. Their talking points don't even need to be rewritten. Just updated: "Legislators have yet again rejected the idea that the state can and should shirk its duty to provide our children with an adequate education."

However, supporters of reasonably splitting public education's costs between localities and the state need not lose hope. There is broad support among the left and the right for letting the state target aid to school districts that need it most. An amendment that most legislators would back can be written. The challenge is not so much wording an amendment as it is electing the right legislators.

Until the Claremont rulings, the State of New Hampshire had never fully funded public education. It was understood that local communities were responsible for their own schools, and the state would chip in with additional dollars. There are plenty of people in New Hampshire who believe strongly -- and correctly -- that this is the best arrangement, not only for our children, but for the taxpayers. We need to elect them to the Legislature.

Mandating that the state pay for 100 percent of basic public education costs has nothing to do with "fairness." It isn't fair to collect money from property-poor communities and send it to property-rich ones. That is what the Claremont mandate does.

It also has nothing to do with the "right" to an adequate education. Were that the case, legislators would be busy trying to figure out why some students in middle-income communities perform so much better than those in communities that spend more money on education.

Instead, they focus on money. That's because this debate is and has always been all about taxes. Amendment opponents want a broadbased state tax. They know that their only chance of getting one is to tie it to school funding. It's a tested scheme. If you want a tax increase, make sure it is "for the children."

This tax increase will not make our schools better or our children smarter. If money were the answer, the District of Columbia would have the best schools in the country instead of the worst.

Granite Staters can stop this tax-hike scheme only by electing more legislators who believe that the state has a duty to supplement local school budgets, not to entirely relieve local communities of the responsibility for funding their own schools.

To do that, we'll have to throw out many of the current lot this fall. Be sure to ask your representatives and senator whether they support an amendment to restore the state's proper role in education funding. If they don't, you should be looking for new representation.

No comments: