The State Budget I proudly supported last month was historical in many ways. The Republican legislature created a budget to cut taxes and spend less. Some examples: Business Profit Tax reduced to 7.6%. Cuts to the Room and Meals tax we all pay, but will help boost tourism especially. $100 million in direct property tax relief for every New Hampshire homeowner. The phasing out (over five years) of the Interest and Dividend Tax, a huge help for seniors and the disabled.
The Budget also sends $88M back to cities and towns to potentially provide additional property tax relief. We increased funding for veteran support services. More funding for Granite Shield, which continues to work on drug trafficking from entering New Hampshire. And Republicans built our state Rainy Day Funds to the highest amount ever.
Key Legislation also passed:
HB542 provides, during a state of emergency, that religious organizations may operate as “essential services.” Additionally, HB278 benefits taxpayers and “the other public-school students” saying that public charter schools shall have right-of-first refusal on unused school district buildings. SB147 helps school districts deal with unexpected special education expenses in a completely new way. Taxpayers should benefit financially.
With the smallest majority in many years, the Republicans still managed to join a majority of states protecting the unborn but viable children by putting a ban on abortions occurring after the seventh month of the pregnancy. The legislature took a stand against Critical Race Theory (CRT) in our schools by emphasizing content of character over color of skin as espoused by the late Martin Luther King.
Parents will also welcome Education Freedom Accounts to liberate parents financially for educational opportunity for their children. Parents can have access, with limitations, to state funding giving them the option to find the best education “fit” instead of a single choice: their assigned public school.
All children do not learn in the same way. We agree on that. Focusing on what benefits children rather than the public-school institution itself means more and more opportunities for parents to decide what is best for their child. The school districts’ responses to COVID-19 and masks and remote learning have encouraged parents to at least review alternatives for their children. I expect CRT will encourage parents to explore even more.
COVID-19 brought isolation and depression to many people. What we need now is unity, not division. It’s important to remember, the legislature processed over 80% of all submitted bills in a bipartisan way. The emphasis in the media is on those remaining 20%. The Republicans delivered on their campaign promises for the New Hampshire people. We hope you agree.
Enjoy your summer. You can contact me at Natalie.Wells@nullleg.state.nh.us or 456-2873.