This is why we cannot have nice things.
Our screwed up system of state and local taxes creates many problems for state legislators when crafting our bi-annual state budget. Our current system means we have to rely on the “sin taxes” aka booze and smokes. Now they are basing funding for kindergarten on Keno sales.
Thats right. Instead of funding full day kindergarten as both Governor Sununu and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern campaigned on, Republicans have agreed to partially fund full day kindergarten with revenue from a new Keno lottery game. We are basing funding for the education of our children on Keno.
“The amendment approved by a committee of conference would provide an additional $1,100 per full-day kindergarten student and would legalize the online lottery game keno to help pay for it. The plan also guarantees the funding even if keno revenues aren’t enough to cover the grants.”
The $1,100 additional adequacy grant does not cover the costs of full day kindergarten as the Union Leader explains.
“The state currently offers school districts a grant of $1,800 per student for kindergarten enrollment. That’s half the so-called “adequacy grant” of $3,600 for students in grades 1-12, assuming half-day kindergarten programs.”
Throughout the budget process Republicans have been saying we cannot afford to cover our proposed expenses and pay for full day kindergarten, but there is plenty of money to drop the Business Profits Tax.
Jeff Woodburn the Democratic Minority Leader in the NH Senate said:
“Senate Democrats have been leading on Kindergarten for years, and we are glad Governor Sununu has at least attempted to follow our example. But, today’s failure to support full-day kindergarten like any other grade while giving even more tax cuts for the wealthy elite is a major disappointment and once again demonstrates Governor Sununu’s failure to lead. The fact that Governor Sununu could not get the Republican House to compromise raises real questions about the Governor’s commitment to full-day kindergarten and shows, once again, his commitment to partisan politics.”
“Just like his broken campaign promises to lead on reducing tuition at our colleges and universities and on family and medical leave insurance, this kindergarten shell game demonstrates Governor Sununu’s desire to put partisan politics ahead of meaningful progress for everyday Granite Staters.”
It is very clear that Republicans in the Legislature do not care about working people and children as they refuse to make full day kindergarten mandatory and fail to fully fund full day kindergarten. They are more than willing to slash taxes on “business owners” at the expense of the needs and priorities of the state.
I do not want to hear any Republican say that we cannot afford to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, fully fund full day kindergarten, invest in repairs for local schools, or that we cannot afford to expand rail service into NH until they replace the tax giveaways in this budget.