To the Editor:
I want to thank the people who attended the Sullivan County Education Workshop in Newport on Tuesday, April 30.
I would like to share a few important details mentioned and included in participants’ packages at the workshop.
The proposed House budget currently under review by the Senate Finance Committee provides critical relief to communities who struggle with property taxes; specifically public education costs.
The proposed State budgets rescinds the 4 percent yearly cuts in State stabilization grants since 2017. These cuts have and will cost towns like my hometown Newport nearly an additional increase of $2 per thousand on our already high tax rate.
Additionally, the Stare House Budget includes increase per student adequacy funding and provides targeted assistance with schools. This aid will provide towns like Claremont $4.166 million, Newport $2.219 million, Charlestown 1.666 million, and many of the other 133 towns struggling for aid they need to stabilize their schools and lower property taxes.
For nearly 20-35 years communities like Newport, Claremont, Franklin, Berlin and Charlestown, to name a few, have struggled economically. These communities have loss a significant percentage of their tax base as traditional manufacturing industry has left their communities. The loss of tax base has forced the increase in local taxes, which has become a barrier for new industry and families alike to move and invest in these communities to restore the needed tax base.
I believe funding public education and ensuring that hard working New Hampshire citizens can afford housing is not a partisan issue. I think since the Claremont Suit Ruling some 26 years ago by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which affirmed that public education is a New Hampshire’s citizen right and a New Hampshire responsibility, the legislature has been unable to find a workable solutions, I believe because of politics.
Republican, Democrat and other political affiliations, we need to work together to find a solution to this crisis and move away from the regressive property tax methodology. I call it a crisis because 77 percent of New Hampshire children actually live in communities with below average equalized property values.
Please write and call your legislator and Governor Sununu. Together I believe we can restore the New Hampshire advantage economically to all of New Hampshire’s communities and all of New Hampshire’s children.
179 Springfield Road
Newport, N.H. 03773