I am honored to serve as your State Representative and I remain committed to being a voice for you and a vote for Milford at the State House. Thank you for your feedback and input in 2017. I’ve really appreciated your emails, tweets, Facebook messages, and phone calls. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you at Town Hall during my office hours. Your concerns and priorities are important to me and your perspective helps me to make better decisions for you and our Milford community, so please keep in touch!
Our 2018 legislative session kicks off this Wednesday, January 3rd. The session will begin with votes on retained bills (those 2017 bills that were held over in committee). I’ve highlighted a few of these key retained bills below, including ones I’ve received input and questions on from you.
The number one concern I’ve heard from constituents is our rising local property taxes. Retained bill, HB 413, aims to restore payments by the state to towns for their portion of teacher and state employee retirement costs. The State used to pay towns 30% of these costs which yielded millions of dollars to our town and school budgets. Downshifting decisions like this one which began in 2009 imposed a huge cost burden to towns, causing our local property taxes to surge in order to make up the difference. HB 413 aims to provide Granite Staters with local property tax relief by reinstating 15% of state funding for state employee retirement costs. Although I, along with a majority of my House colleagues, voted 267-83 to pass this bill in February, the Finance Committee retained it during the budgeting process last spring. Unfortunately the majority of House and Senate Finance Committee members chose NOT to include local property tax relief as a priority in the state’s final budget; HB 413 was buried. This week in the House, we will vote on Finance’s new recommendation to kill (ITL) HB 413. I will be voting against killing it, and will be working with colleagues to try to reverse this decision in an effort to bring much needed property tax relief to Milford.
I’ve also heard from many of you on SB 193 which would establish education freedom savings accounts for students. This bill would allow eligible parents to pay for private school tuition and home schooling expenses with state public school funds. Were this bill to pass, parents could access adequacy funds ($3000+ per student) that would normally go to public schools. According to the Concord Monitor, if this bill passes it would become one of the furthest reaching voucher-style state education programs in the country. I have heard from many of you — the overwhelming majority expressing concern about the potential loss of revenues for our school district and along with that, more local property tax increases. This is a very complicated bill that also poses many constitutional questions. Once again, thank you for your emails and phone calls. I plan to be a voice for Milford and vote against this bill. There has been a lot of media coverage on this bill. Click on the articles below for more information and feel free to email me with your input and/or questions.
- School Choice Bill Up for A Vote, NHPR’s the Exchange, discussion
- SB 193: Analysis of Potential Impact on Tax Rates in Rural New Hampshire
I remain committed to listening to you, my constituents, and to collaborating with my fellow legislators to solve our community’s and state’s challenges. I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to develop creative solutions and support smart policies that foster a strong community promoting Milford residents’ well-being, as well as strong economic policies to support our working families, children and seniors.
Here is a link to the full list of retained bills to be voted on this week in the House. Please take time to email me and your other Milford State Representatives and Senator with your input. Please stay tuned and continue to provide your input. Thank you and Happy New Year!