To the Legislators and Governor: Do Your Duty

by Mike Biundo, Chairman NH Advantage Coalition

When you entered the ballot box last fall, did you vote for a state Representative?

If you did, did you expect that he or she would take an oath to uphold the NH Constitution?

And did you, when you had the ballot before you, vote for your representative Supreme Court member?

No?

Funny, because the justices are acting like legislators, and if we don’t tell them to stop, we may be backed into a sales or income tax in NH.

You see, in 1993, the Court made up a “right” to a state-funded education. The fact that the NH Constitution doesn’t do this was irrelevant to them. In 1997, the justices ruled that since they had already said that the state had an obligation to fund education, and towns and cities fund education through the use of a portion of their property taxes, that local property tax for education was really a state tax, and all state taxes had to be “proportional and reasonable”. Therefore, there had to be one, uniform tax to fund education equally all across the state. Some politicians, ready to comply in order to get to the political end-game they had desired, proposed, yeah, you guessed it, state-wide income and sales taxes. Luckily, the traditions of NH won out. The sales and income taxes were avoided, although a state-wide property tax of $6.60 per thousand was instituted. That merely began a long period of town-to-town redistribution of wealth, rather than directly taking it from innocent victims. Plunder is plunder, but it was excused by some because, they told us, we all “live in a community” and to resist having money taken from your town and given to another was just un-neighborly.

Well, have no fear. The justices are not done trying to shove us into the economic Mack truck that is a broad-based tax. Their recent “Londonderry” decision, ordering the legislature to somehow define an “adequate” education, will get us there if we do not stop their malfeasance now.

The justices have set a deadline of July 1, 2007 for the legislature to define a “constitutionally adequate education”, despite the fact that the term “adequate education” doesn’t appear in the NH Constitution. If the legislature does not jump to the Court’s demands, the justices will appoint a “magistrate” to handle this work for them.

Interesting, huh? The appellate judicial branch of the NH government will make law. Remember when you voted for them?

You remember, don’t you?

Ever read the NH Constitution? Just like a “right” to a state-funded, “adequate” education isn’t in there, the legislative power of the judicial branch isn’t anywhere to be found either!

If the real legislators do not stand up for their civic duty as our representatives and rebuff the Court, they will not only be giving up their Constitutional power, they will be backing us right into a broad-based tax.

As it stands, the proposals for “education adequacy” being produced in concord to fulfill this unwarranted Court “mandate” bring the overall financial liability of NH for education to upwards of $2 billion. If that burden is accepted, you can say goodbye to your control over your own school, and you can say goodbye to the financial distinction that gave New Hampshire an advantage over our neighbors. We will be backed into a broad-based tax to pay for this. The legislators need to know, and Governor Lynch needs to know.

Likewise, they need to know that they have the duty, the responsibility, to tell the court they cannot make law, that their rulings are improper, and that the legislature will not be treated like second-class members of the government.

We elected our representatives, not the justices.

Before July 1, lets tell them we are still aware of this.