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House votes Interim Study on SB 193, 170-159. But it’s not over! Here’s the roll call on yesterday’s vote.

After an evening in which both sides would have subjected Republican’s who supported the Interim Study motion to intense lobbying, there will be more maneuvering on the House floor today, attempting to bring the bill up for reconsideration.  If Sb 193 supporters lose again today, they may try to insert the bill into another piece of legislation still in process (the session is scheduled to end on May 24).

So please stay tuned for further opportunities to communicate with your legislators.

Immediately below is the roll call, alphabetical by House Member’s last name, copied and pasted from the General Court web site.  Below that is the same table, sorted by party and vote.  Below that, the table is sorted by vote and party. (more…)

Bishop Libasci doubles down on gaining state funding for Catholic schools

Now that the Diocese lobbying effort is out there, Bishop Libasci has cut to the heart of the issue with straight talk.

The Bishop’s message is no longer about empowering families who need an alternative to the excellent learning environment in our public schools but that legislators should vote for for SB 193 to pay Catholic school tuition.

Bishop Libasci crystallizes the issue SB 193 has put before the Legislature in his new letter to his parishioners: (more…)

Portsmouth Herald Editorial: Protect taxpayers, students, schools; send SB 193 for study

The Portsmouth Herald and its related seacoast papers ran the strong editorial below this morning on why SB 193 should be sent to Interim Study.  The vote is tomorrow and supporters are putting together elaborate plans to get something passed to keep the bill alive.  Now would be a great time to call your House member and follow up with an email about why the bill should be defeated (get their contact info here if you know who they are and here if you don’t):

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee is to be commended for its in-depth analysis of Senate Bill 193, which led it to warn that more study is needed before the state authorizes so-called “freedom savings accounts” for students.

After holding 13 work sessions and several public hearings on the bill, the Finance Committee voted 14-12 last week to recommend the bill be referred to interim study, where its many flaws can be addressed over the summer and fall to benefit a future Legislature.

(more…)

Is the Catholic Diocese of Manchester lobbying behind the scenes for SB 193?

American Catholic schools have always been a great source of learning in a context of values and discipline. But times are tough.  While New Hampshire public schools have lost 12% of their enrollment over the past 10 years, our private schools have lost 19%.  They are down from 20,000 students in 2008 to 16,000 students now (NHDOE).

New Hampshire’s nationally-known private schools are doing fine but the local, mostly church-based, schools are hard hit by those enrollment declines.  It’s a national phenomenon that NPR did a story on a year ago, observing, (more…)

Update on the status of SB 404, the effort to totally phase out the interest and dividend tax

We discussed SB 404 as part of our post earlier today on the attempt to expand the education tax credit program, HB 1686.  We said it was dead for this year.

It now appears that Sen. Sanborn, the prime sponsor, is trying to revive his bill that would cost the state $50 million per year in lost tax revenue when fully implemented.  The Senate Finance Committee has proposed an amendment to HB 1554 to replaces the House passed language with Sen. Sanborn’s interest and dividend phaseout. (more…)

HB 1686 to expand the education tax credit voucher program goes to the Senate Finance Committee.

As reported by NHPR, the Senate has voted along party lines in favor of HB 1686, the bill that would expand the education tax credit program passed in 2012 that has remained small because it has failed to gain business support.  The expensive proposal is to expand the tax credit to interest and dividend income in a formula that would be very profitable for the many out of state investors who take advantage of New Hampshire’s friendly treatment of trust funds.

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.  The context is interesting. (more…)

UL on the Finance Committee vote yesterday: “The 14-12 vote comes as a disappointment to school choice backers, foremost among them Gov. Chris Sununu, who made the bill a centerpiece of his education policy initiatives for 2018.”

Dave Solomon provides a complete report on SB 193 status and prospects  in today’s Union Leader:

Call them private school vouchers or freedom scholarships, but either way the school choice bill, SB 193, is going to the full House next week with a negative vote from the House Finance Committee.

The Senate-passed bill has been worked and reworked by committee members for months in the hope of reaching a compromise that would attract the votes of all 15 Republicans on the 26-person House panel.

(more…)

Governor Sununu: opposition to SB 193 comes only from “the unions” and their big money

Here is a 10 minute interview with Governor Sununu about SB 193. The dominant theme is that all the opposition comes from “the unions”, which have spent big money to oppose the bill.  We do, of course, hope that teachers would oppose a bill that would burden their local property taxpayers and reduce their ability to teach their students.  But all of you know that opposition is far broader and deeper than that. (more…)

House Finance Committee recommends Interim Study on SB 193 by a vote of 14-12

In the face of unremitting pressure from the Governor and House leadership, House Finance chair Neal Kurk (R, Weare, rep03281@aol.com) and Reps. Frank Byron (R, Littlefield, frank.byron@leg.state.nh.us ) and Robert Theberge (R, Berlin, robert.theberge@leg.state.nh.us) voted with all committee Democrats to send SB 193 to the House with a recommendation of Interim Study.

Chairman Kurk said, explaining his vote briefly, “I was not elected to downshift costs to my constituents.”

Please take a minute to express your appreciation for the strong stands taken by Reps. Kurk, Byron and Theberge (email addresses above).

It will take that same kind of fortitude and conviction for others to oppose the bill when it comes up for a vote on Thursday, May 3th.  Many in both parties agree that business and property taxes should benefit all public school children rather than subsidizing private school for a few.  So now is the time to write or call your Reps (contact info is here) and let them know there is a lot of support out there for doing the right thing.

This is a key moment to communicate with the House Finance Committee about SB 193, the voucher bill

After months trying to write a version of SB 193 that could gain support, the House Finance Committee Division II subcommittee (here are the members) voted 7-1 yesterday to recommend Interim Study to the full Finance Committee.  On April 25, the full Finance Committee will vote on its recommendation to the full House.  The full House will vote on the bill in the first week of May, probably May 4th.  If the House supports Interim Study or ITL, the bill will be dead for this year. (more…)