Union Leader: A compromise: Bipartisanship on education funding, 3/16/12

posted Mar 18, 2012, 1:20 PM by Bill Duncan   [ updated May 6, 2012, 2:58 AM ]

DNHPE Comment: The Union Leader goes for broke on the education funding amendment.  This is their third editorial on it.

Published Mar 18, 2012 at 3:00 am (Updated Mar 17, 2012)

Responsible people in both parties recognize that the state Supreme Court's Claremont rulings are pushing New Hampshire toward a cliff. The rulings force the state to send the same base subsidy to every school district, regardless of need. That is an unaffordable absurdity that people of all political persuasions can agree must be changed.

Democratic Gov. John Lynch and Republican leaders in the House and Senate agree that a constitutional amendment is needed to stop this ridiculous wasting of state resources. They agree on most of the wording of the amendment. But that agreement will come to naught if those leaders don't work together, and as hard as they can, to gather the 239 House votes needed to pass the amendment.

On Friday, House Speaker Bill O'Brien and Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt held a press conference in which they publicly called on Democratic Party leaders, particularly Gov. Lynch and minority House leaders, to work with them to get an amendment passed.

“We need everybody at the table,” Speaker O'Brien said. He is absolutely right. The Legislature is close to passing an amendment that allows the state to target aid to districts that need it most. But Republicans cannot pass it alone. Some 30 to 40 House Republicans simply won't vote for a compromise amendment, it seems. Democrats who support targeted aid, as Gov. Lynch does, must come forward and help.

New Hampshire needs this amendment, and it needs it this year. This is not the time for partisanship — on either side. It is the time for responsible legislators to join together to solve the state's most pressing problem. Let's do it now. There will never be a better time.