Independence Day

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Today, we do not celebrate the fourth of July. We celebrate Independence Day. That is a big difference. If you complained, out loud, about the government or a government official today… and you were not killed or imprisoned, celebrate Independence Day. The people who did declare independence and fought to make it reality risked their lives. They risked their property. They risked their families. They risked literally everything so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.

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Once more, into the breach

With apologies to Tennyson, the day before yesterday, I filed for re-election. Serving in the NH House has been an extremely worthwhile experience. I have the honor of being the Governor’s appointee on the Interagency Council on Homelessness (appointed by Gov. Hassan, reappointed by Gov. Sununu). I’ve been the Chair of the House Transportation Committee for 4 years. During that time, I’ve led efforts to modernize the state’s thinking about transportation modalities. I created a test monitoring program for driverless vehicles, because they are here now. We created a new commission to review public transportation projects, focusing on new methods and technologies. Most of all, it has given me satisfaction every time I was able to help a constituent navigate a problem with the state. I have more to give, and hope that the voters of Sullivan County District 11 give me the chance again.tomssteve

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School Funding Formulas – Charlestown

The challenge with a funding formula is that there is always a winner, and a loser. For years, education fund formulas have been political footballs in Concord, with little emphasis on finding a fair transparent method (my personal opinion). If you live in Charlestown, you’re painfully aware of this. Your portion goes up while Walpole seems to gain an advantage.  You also lose $100,000 (approximate) per year because of an adjustment 8 years ago designed to eliminate “donor towns”.

I can’t fix that. The votes here are not enough to change it, because the votes from districts that would get less outnumber us. I was able to get around $133,000 in “extra” money for Charlestown to put towards roads and bridges to make it even, but that still isn’t fixing the problem.

Changes to the district apportionment formula have to be voted on by the district. The district towns won’t vote for changes that benefit Charlestown at their expense. You need more tools and leverage. You can’t even threaten to leave the district, because they can vote to not let you go.

Here are bills with my name on them that are trying to help.

HOUSE BILL 1814 – AN ACT relative to additional education grants to municipalities for the purpose of restoring reductions in stabilization grants.

Read it at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/m_billtext.aspx?billnumber=HB1814.html

This freezes the $100,000 reduction in aid until a committee working on a new formula completes its work. This critically important to Charlestown. The fight for this bill is not going well. I need your help. Email the Finance Committee at HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us and tell them how much this is needed here. You can also call 603-271-3165. Please be nice to the overworked secretary who answers the phone. It isn’t her fault.

HOUSE BILL 1469 – AN ACT relative to the dissolution of cooperative school districts.
HOUSE BILL 1594 – AN ACT relative to the disposition of property upon withdrawal from cooperative school districts.
HOUSE BILL 1598 – AN ACT relative to the vote to withdraw from a cooperative school district.

This trio would make it easier for Charlestown to withdraw from SAU60 and allow you to retain your school buildings. I’m not saying we should do that. Fall Mountain is a pretty good district. The point is, the other towns know that you can’t leave. If you could, it would sure change the conversation when it is time to negotiate who pays what.

Steve

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