Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 08:33AM
Concord, NH - Speaking to the Union Leader about news that New Hampshire college students have the highest level of debt in the country, Republican House Speaker Bill O'Brien touted the reckless Republican state budget passed earlier this year. Under his supervision the budget made the largest cut to public higher education in the nation. [Union Leader, 11/08/2011]
This issue shows once again the clear choice that voters will face in November between Republicans who prioritize tax cuts on cigarettes over New Hampshire students and Democrats who are working to improve education, make it more affordable and prepare today's students for tomorrow's economy.
"Only in Speaker O'Brien Tea Party fantasy world does funding education 'cause more problems than it solves.' In reality, New Hampshire's highly skilled workforce is a major draw for businesses creating new jobs in the state. Not only doesn't the Speaker care that his irresponsible budget has already killed more than 1,500 New Hampshire jobs, he clearly is giving no thought to New Hampshire's workforce of tomorrow and Granite Staters' future job opportunities," said Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "Speaker O'Brien and Republicans in Concord shouldn't be touting their reckless budget, which gave New Hampshire the dubious distinction of being first in the nation in student debt and irresponsible cuts to higher education - neither is anything to be proud of."
In contrast, last week President Obama announced a plan to help students manage the costs of college by consolidating their federal student loans and reducing interest rates, giving over 1 million borrowers more manageable monthly payments.These changes could reduce loan payments by hundreds of dollars each month for many who struggle to manage their student loan debt - including nurses, teachers, public defenders and others in lower-paying jobs.
Additionally, the American Jobs Act proposes $8,700,000 in funding in the next fiscal year for New Hampshire's community colleges, to ensure that these local, bedrock education institutions have the facilities and equipment to address current workforce demands in today's highly technical and growing fields. [White House fact sheet]
"The choice voters will face in November could not be clearer," said Kirstein. "Republicans have mixed up priorities on nearly every issue, putting corporations and special interests first and seniors, students and Middle Class Granite State families last."