Sen. Clark’s proposed constitutional amendment on the use of dedicated funds passes Senate
(Concord, NH) Last week, the New Hampshire Senate passed CACR 19, a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Martha Fuller Clark that would require that dedicated funds “shall be used only for the special program for which such fees or assessments were imposed.”
Dedicating funds is a popular way to offer stable, long-term support to important and popular programs. From highway funds to domestic violence prevention, the legislature has created approximately 300 such funds over the years to provide consistent funding to our priorities.
Just as often, however, the legislature has found these funds irresistible when the need to plug gaps in biannual budgets arises, as it inevitably does. This constitutional amendment, if passed by the House and by the citizens on Election Day, would not make that impossible - it would simply require a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate to pass.
"I believe it is important that there should be truth in government. If we want to gain the trust of the public we should keep our word and not take money from our citizens that has been dedicated for one particular purpose through funds and fees and use it for another,” Sen. Clark said. “Perhaps the most egregious example is when, in 2011, the legislature took millions of dollars from a fund created to provide scholarships for students in our state and used it to replace the state's obligation to fund operating dollars for our university system. Putting this issue before the public with a Constitutional amendment will allow us to see if they agree."
Having passed the Senate with a vote of 21-2, CACR 19 now goes to the House for consideration. If it passes the House, it will go before the voters on the ballot for the November 4th general election. Support of two-thirds of the voters is required to make this measure a part of the New Hampshire Constitution.