Access to educational opportunities in New Hampshire is primarily determined by zip code and accident of birth. Though New Hampshire has some of the highest-performing public schools in the nation, performance across school districts is uneven. Public school students in wealthier towns like Windham and Bedford perform highly on standardized tests while their low-income peers in Claremont and Stratford lag behind.
“The final decision in this case was always going to come from the Supreme Court which I’m sure will uphold the law. No education tax credit has ever been struck down by a Supreme Court in any state. This ruling is particularly odd. The entire program is fine unless a parent by their own choice chooses a religious school. By this logic a program is illegal if neutral and only legal if actively hostile to religion. That’s absurd and I trust the Supreme Court will find it so. I hope the Supreme Court will act quickly so parents have some certainty for the coming school year.”
Now that the House and Senate have each passed their respective versions of the budget, the next phase in the process is the Committee of Conference, where appointees from each body will meet to hammer out a deal to reconcile the two proposed budgets. There is much common ground between the two proposals; however, there are a few key differences. While some are dollar figures others are more philosophically driven.
The national unemployment rate grew to 7.6% in May, up from 7.5% in April. That increase translates to 101,000 additional unemployed persons.
The political rhetoric surrounding the state budget bears no resemblance to the actual differences between the two parties and two chambers of the legislature. The rhetoric is as heated as it’s been in decades but the budget about to be adopted by the Republican Senate is remarkably similar to the one that passed the Democratic House.
The spending levels proposed for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Governor, passed by the House, and proposed by the Senate Finance Committee are actually quite similar. The notable exception to this is the Uncompensated Care Fund, which are payments to hospitals to help pay for charity care.
New Hampshire’s state budget always looks very different at each step of the process. The Governor, House, and Senate each have a very different approach to the budget whether they are of the same party or not. The final product, whether we have it by the June 30 deadline or not, won’t look like one side or another “won” but rather will resemble a patchwork quilt of changes and compromises. Rejecting gambling one side and tax increases on the other hasn’t caused chaos and isn’t petulant retribution.