May 12, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Union Leader "A constitutional amendment worth everyone's support"

Charles Arlinghaus:
"An amendment on education funding in New Hampshire is long overdue and is only common sense. The only thing stopping the Legislature from putting one on the ballot are the misconceptions of one group of people and the tax fantasies of another. Both groups should be overlooked and an amendment adopted.

The source of the conflict is a series of state Supreme Court rulings called the Claremont decisions. They basically said that the way we had funded education — largely through local property taxes with a small amount of state aid — was unconstitutional.

They interpreted the phrase “cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools,” to mean that the state can't delegate its authority and has to use a state, not a local, tax to pay for a basic portion of the funding. The inherent ambiguity of the phrase is what led many people to think of the decision as a bit of an overreach.

Some of the more liberal-leaning legislators hoped the decision would force an income tax or at least a transfer of education to the state, creating one big school district, if you will. But that was always a fantasy, and there has never been much support for a state school district (nor should there be)....." 
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