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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eugene Van Loan III: Donor towns are coming back

The Union Leader picks up Josiah Bartlett Center President Eugene Van Loan's column on the secret return of donor towns.

Donor towns are municipalities that collect more money from the statewide property tax than it costs them to provide an adequate education to their own students. The state requires such towns and cities to send the "surplus"to Concord to be redistributed to other municipalities. This, of course, is a classic rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul scheme, and the governor rightly opposed it.

As things turned out, the Legislature did pass a bill in the 2008 session -- SB 539 -- that requires the state to fully fund the cost of "adequacy,"and the governor did not veto it. (On the other hand, he also did not sign it because he still favored a constitutional amendment to restore New Hampshire's tradition of local control over education policy and funding. The governor, to his credit, simply let the time expire within which he could veto SB 539, and the bill became law without his express approval.)

So, that should mean that there will be no donor towns, right? Wrong!

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