First lets talk about the amendments. CACR6:
“PROVIDING THAT: a 3/5 vote is required to pass legislation imposing new or increased taxes or license fees, or to authorize the issuance of state bonds and providing that the general court shall appropriate funds for payment of interest and installments of principle of all state bonds.”
This amendment was proposed by NH ALEC member Jordan Ulery. This bill would make it very difficult to pass any new taxes or changes in fees. This bill would essentially lock our current revenue stream where it is at. We elect representatives to make tough choices and balance the interests of everyone in the state. This would virtually tie the hands of the representatives and will undoubtedly lead to much legislative gridlock .
The second amendment is CACR 13:
PROVIDING THAT: no new tax on personal income shall be levied by the state of New Hampshire
This one is pretty straight forward. It would make a constitutional amendment that would ban any form of income tax in New Hampshire. This is bill was sponsored by former State Rep DJ Bettencourt and Speaker O’Brien.
The third is CACR12:
This is another bill that was pushed by former State Rep Bettencourt, as well as Rep. Kurk. This bill would allow the Legislature the ability to override the Claremont Decision. It would also give the legislature the sole authority to determine which schools get funding and how much. Laura Hainey President of AFT-NH has been opposed to CACR12 from the very beginning. In AFT-NH’s most recent update Ms Hainey stated:
“There is much to worry about if CACR 12 passes next week in both the senate and the house. If passed this proposed constitutional amendment would be placed on the November ballot. The agreed upon language and the seven points sounds wonderful in theory to some but actions speak louder than words. It is abundantly clear to me that Speaker O’Brien and his fellow extremists having exclusive control over all education funding with no court oversight will turn the clock back to pre-Claremont. We know the first pot of money that such a legislature would raid in trying to make spending cuts. Their agenda for the past two years has been to divert much needed money away from our public schools. “
Even NH Gubernatorial candidates are speaking out against trying to take more money away from our public school system.
NH Governor Cadidate Jackie Cilley said this yesterday about CACR12: “These constitutional amendments are about ‘whether’ — whether the state will fund your school. My administration would be focused on the ‘how’ –how we partner with your community to insure that every child has access to a quality education in our state. Education should not be an accident of geography. If NH is going to attract business with good …jobs for our citizens, it is imperative that we prepare students for the challenges of the 21 st century marketplace. CACR 12 sends us back to the days of using educational funding as a political football– powerful legislators snag money for their districts at the expense of yours. Parents, educators and most of all businesses,hoping for a well educated workforce, should stand united against CACR 12.”
The answer is very simple. Taxes pay for our schools, and the Claremont Decision ensures that all schools are given money fairly. If we pass a law that makes it illegal to raise taxes or create new taxes then we will loose the ability to pay for our public education. When you add in CACR12, that would mean that the Legislature would then decide how much of the General Fund would be used to pay for our schools. They can pick and choose who gets money and who does not. It will be very easy to rob education funding to pay for other pet projects. Speaker O’Brien has already announced his budget cutting goals for next year if he is e-elected. Don’t forget they do not believe in funding our public schools so they see the current funding as extra money for them to use elsewhere. We will cities and towns pitted against one another again. This will also mean that there will be less and less money to pay for reconstruction projects at our local schools. This will however lead to one thing, Higher Taxes. What, how can that be? If we pass CACR6 and 13 then they cannot raise taxes! The taxes I am talking about are our property taxes. If these amendments go through I guarantee you that your property taxes will continue to rise exponentially from now until your taxes are more than your mortgage. Look at what happened this year when the Legislature made 10% cuts to the State Budget. I saw an $118 per month increase in my property taxes. This increase was only to keep the status quo.
What will happen in 10 years, 20 years, or 50 years?
I think you will find me living in Massachusetts!