To the Editor:
Much has been written about the significant effects of the Governor’s 53 vetoes of legislation passed during the recent session of the Legislature. Of those bills, 34 passed on voice votes, indicating support by both parties. Here are some facts that we think the residents of Pembroke and Chichester particularly should know. In November of 2018 the voters of New Hampshire elected a majority of Democrats to the NH House and Senate. This was viewed as a mandate to carry out the preference of the voters across the state and in Merrimack District 20 where two out of three representatives elected were Democrats. The Legislature did it’s job by enacting legislation encompassing many aspects of life in the Granite State. Among other areas, bills were passed concerning mental health , election law, responsible gun legislation, and, in many residents minds the most important area, education funding and property tax relief.
The total education funding amounted to $164 million to towns and cities in the original House budget. This was reduced to $138 million after the Committee of Conference. The funding was earmarked to help the neediest communities first with adequacy and stabilization funds among others, and significant tax relief, with almost every town and city receiving increased funding. Pembroke and Chichester are not among the neediest towns, but, like many others, struggle every year with budgeting and trying to deal with the significantly high property taxes due to and unfair tax system and the reliance on local property taxes to fund the school systems. Both towns would have received increases in state funding: Chichester would receive an additional $36, 039 in 2020 and $49, 101 in 2021. Pembroke would receive an additional $461,050 in 2020 and $1,323,771 in 2021. Think of the positive impact on the school budgets and the property tax relief generated by these amounts.
The Legislature will be in session on September 18 and 19 dealing with the vetoes. On paper, Democrats do not have the votes to override any vetoes, including the budget. What this means is that the state has minority rule – one person, the Governor, and a minority of representatives and senators holding up significant legislation, most importantly school funding. We would encourage the voters of Pembroke and Chichester to appeal to the third representative of Merrimack 20 and to our state senator to support the override of the budget and also some other important legislation coming up on those dates.
Rep. David Doherty and Rep. Dianne Schuett
David B. Doherty
242 Fourth Range Rd.
Pembroke, NH 03275