The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is disappointed in the state budget and trailer bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Christopher Sununu last week.
A state budget is a statement of community values, and we believe that elements of this budget and trailer bill run contrary to the values of free speech, democratic representation and equality of opportunity. We are especially concerned about the use of a critically important pandemic-related budget process to enact controversial and ill-advised social policy.
We now have a law in New Hampshire that censors the teaching of truth in public schools and state agencies about systemic racism and sexism. This will deter discussions of an honest rendering of our shared history. The opposition to this measure from every sector of our society was overwhelming and clear — and yet it was inserted into the state budget and signed notwithstanding. That is not how democracy should work.
This budget imperils the American promise of public education for all: The new school voucher program will strip funding from our public schools and leave the most vulnerable children — the ones who rely most on the promise of public education — in schools with fewer resources, increasingly inadequate facilities and diminished opportunity. The deep cut in the statewide education property tax further benefits already wealthy communities, while taking funding away from struggling communities and schools.
The Charitable Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit community foundation. We believe that the future of our state, our shared prosperity and well-being depend on every person having access to the opportunities, resources, and supports needed to reach their full potential.
We will continue to work alongside, support, and speak up on behalf of the people working to achieve that shared goal for New Hampshire.