The N.H. House passed a balanced state budget on April 11, and we are happy to report that this spending plan has the right priorities. The House’s state budget bill makes critical investments in New Hampshire’s children and ensures they have the essentials they need to thrive.
When our children thrive, our state prospers.
The House budget bill boosts funding for public schools and aims to ensure every child receives a high-quality education regardless of their ZIP code. With an additional $164 million in targeted state aid to property-poor school districts, the House budget invests in all kids’ education. The budget also funds full-day kindergarten, lifts the moratorium on new school building aid and fully funds special education (catastrophic aid).
This budget establishes a new, sustainable revenue stream for targeted school aid without relying on property taxes, by eliminating a tax loophole and incorporating capital gains into the interest and dividends tax. As a result, the burden on local property taxpayers is significantly reduced and senior taxpayers’ I&D tax exemptions are doubled, resulting in tax cuts for many.
Also included in this state budget is a paid family medical leave insurance program. This program will provide economic security for families when a parent needs to take leave from work to tend to a child’s illness or a family emergency. Establishing a paid family leave program ensures job security for working families while also enabling them to care for their children and loved ones.
One in five N.H. children have a behavioral or mental health disorder requiring an early and effective intervention. According to Children’s Safety Network, suicide is now the second leading cause of death for N.H. citizens ages 15-34. This budget invests in the first phase recommendations of the state’s new 10-year mental health plan, including community services to intervene and support mental illness early, which will help avoid more costly and less effective institutionalizations. Also included in the budget is funding for child/youth mobile crisis services as well as a children’s psychiatric hospital. For the first time, the state budget allocates resources for suicide prevention education and a 24-hour N.H.-based suicide hotline.
Every child should be provided with the foundation they need to succeed. Family security and support are keys to that foundation. This state budget invests in critical family strengthening and child well-being initiatives. Evidence-based practices like home visiting and additional parental assistance services for families in need of support helps foster healthy, nurturing home environments and prevents child maltreatment and abuse.
The House state budget envisions a bright future for all of New Hampshire’s children while supporting all of our citizens and enhancing our state’s infrastructure. We hope the Senate will support this strong budget bill put forward by the House.
(Reps. Skip Berrien of Exeter and Joelle Martin of Milford lead the legislative Children’s Caucus.)
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