CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Last evening, the House Education Committee took a vote on an unexpected amendment to HB 607 to create a new education voucher program that will astronomically increase property taxes. The bill as amended passed on party lines. In response, Ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee Rep. Mel Myler (D-Contoocook) and Deputy Ranking Democrat Rep. David Luneau (D-Hopkinton) released the following statement:
“The last-minute amendment jammed through House Education, with no public hearing, is a stealth attack on New Hampshire taxpayers as it would create a new voucher program that would draw exclusively on local property tax dollars and remove the parental income requirement. Expanding the voucher program in New Hampshire will dramatically increase property taxes statewide and swing the door wide open for absolutely anyone, regardless of income level, to force local property taxpayers to pay their private school tuition bills. Just last week, it came to light that the current voucher program Gov. Sununu signed into law this June is under-budgeted by five thousand percent in its first year, with most funds going to families and children already homeschooled or enrolled in private school.”
“The amendment passed yesterday exacerbates the already massive burden on local municipalities. While no fiscal note was included on the amendment, even the Republican’s hand-picked examples passed out in committee show that taxpayers in Rumney, a rural town of about 1,500 people, would spend 117% more than the current voucher program cost to fund the tuition of children attending private and religious schools. In towns lucky enough to have an ocean or a lake or a ski area, it could be thousands more to subsidize families who already send their kids to private schools, no matter how much money they make.
Make no mistake, this has been the Republicans' plans all along. Their ultimate goal of defunding public education and sending tax dollars to private and religious schools is here and is expanding every chance they get. Just like the current voucher program, this new program lacks accountability and is nothing short of stealing your tax dollars. Granite State taxpayers deserve better.”