Whose protecting property taxpayers? Lots of money is moving around in the NH House budget. However, when the dust settles, state aid to municipalities is down, and property taxpayers get the short end of the stick.
I noticed that some NH Republican state representatives are bragging about how much their House budget has saved property taxpayers. Of course, we know all that they did was limit the damage. They deprived schools of $90 million in adequacy funding by not mitigating the decrease in enrollment caused by the pandemic.
In addition, they directed general revenues in the amount of $100 million to the Education Trust Fund. Then they subtracted other funding by suspending the state education property tax. Sounds good! The problem is if they are successful at passing SB 130 (school vouchers) and keep the Education Savings Accounts in the House budget, a significant portion of that $100 million will go to fund private school education.
Republicans will tell you that low income students are eligible for Education Savings Accounts and Scholarships. What they won’t say is that the scholarships fall short of covering all the cost of a private school education. Lower income students are unable to afford the extra private school costs to take advantage of the scholarships. On the other hand, students from higher income families can pay the extra costs and collect the scholarship money.
Republicans also failed to maintain $40 million of state education aid (HB 623) equal to that in the 2020 budget. This is money Gov. Sununu so proudly bragged about in 2019 as he traveled from town to town handing out checks. He took credit for the funding that Democrats successfully fought to include in the budget over his initial veto.
The House budget preserves cuts to Business Profits Taxes, Business Enterprise Taxes, and Interest and Dividends Taxes. These cuts to business taxes primarily help large out-of-state corporations. On the other hand, increases in property taxes take a greater toll on mom and pop businesses. As a result, when all is said and done, the House budget stiffs property taxpayers for $42 million.