Anita Burroughs, Jerry Knirk, Chris McAleer and Stephen Woodcock: Does the budget deserve a victory lap? | Columns
My Republican colleagues at NH House recently wrote a letter to the editor congratulating themselves on a historic NH budget. They are right that this is a historic budget; it is perhaps the most politically extreme budget in the history of our state, the one that causes great damage to our public schools, to the rights of the First Amendment and to the reproductive rights of women. It is a Republican budget, because the vote went directly in the direction of the parties.
Let’s raise the curtain to show how several controversial and extreme bills, which could never have been passed on their own, were buried in the budget so that a majority of citizens would not notice them.
Residents of the “Live Free or Die” state have always cherished their First Amendment rights, but Republicans have inserted a bill limiting free speech in the budget. The Divisional Speech Act censors conversations within the public education system and state employees regarding systemic racism and sexism. In response, more than half of the governor’s diversity council resigned.
Republican lawmakers have also enacted state law to limit women’s reproductive rights, including mandating an invasive ultrasound that can cost anywhere from $ 500 to over $ 1,200 in NH and the threat of criminal prosecution against one. doctor performing an abortion after 24 weeks. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, or if there is clinical evidence that the fetus will not be viable. As Rep. Marjory Smith of Durham noted, the legislature has decided to crowd into private citizens ‘bedrooms and doctors’ offices to make decisions that rightfully should be made by a woman, her doctors and her family. It’s a slippery slope from the loss of women’s reproductive rights to the loss of women’s legal rights that women have fought for over the past hundred years.
The education freedom account which was included in the budget because it was too controversial to stand alone as a bill. The purpose of the bill is to give parents the choice of using home schooling, private or religious schools at taxpayer expense, which will divert up to $ 4,600 per student from our public schools, thus putting endangered many public school budgets. There will be no checks and balances to ensure that children receive a proper education at home. Budget deficits in public schools can result in higher property taxes to cover the deficit.
Another budget bill forces taxpayers to bail out wealthy investors in a failed Ponzi scheme to the tune of $ 10 million. At the same time, lawmakers decided not to fund dental care for Medicaid recipients at a cost of $ 5 million, meaning taxpayers will pay more for Medicaid patients to receive dental services in the service. emergencies rather than the dentist’s office.
The budget provides for the elimination of the tax on interest and dividends. Half of that benefit will go to just 209 taxpayers, the richest 1%, so Republicans are successfully transferring your income back to the richest people in our state. And the corporate income tax cut benefits a small group of mostly out-of-state corporations, not the small businesses my colleagues tout.
Are there any good things in the budget? Yes there is. A new psychiatric hospital has been funded and $ 6 million has been allocated for transitional hospital beds, a victory for our mental health system. $ 25 million will go to the Affordable Housing Fund and $ 100 million to the fight against drug addiction. So yes, there have been victories for the citizens of New Hampshire.
In addition, a new psychiatric hospital was funded and $ 6 million was allocated for transitional hospital beds, a victory for our mental health system. $ 25 million will go to the Affordable Housing Fund and $ 100 million to fight drug addiction. So yes, there have been victories for the citizens of NH.
My fellow Republicans, congratulate yourself if you want to bury all the insurmountable bills in the budget. Now you will need to explain to voters in New Hampshire why you want to transfer wealth to the rich, erode women’s reproductive rights and all of our free speech rights, hurt our public school funding, and potentially increase our property taxes. . I doubt many will show up for this victory lap.
Anita Burroughs is the Bartlett State Representative. Jerry Knirk, a representative of the State of Freedom, joins her in writing this column; Chris McAleer, a representative from Jackson State; and Stephen Woodcock, a representative from Conway State. All are Democrats.