New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch told lawmakers of the need for a constitutional amendment for education funding during his state of the state address.
He says the state needs more flexibility to direct more aid to communities and children with the greatest need.
“I remain committed to working with any legislator who shares the goal of an amendment that allows us to target state education aid and affirms the state’s responsibility to our schools. And I will oppose an amendment that would allow the state to abandon its responsibility for education our children,” Gov. Lynch said.
He also stressed the need for a reformed school building aid program.
“I support legislation that will establish a building aid budget, prioritize projects, and increase the match available to school districts with the greatest need,” he said.
The Governor criticized the most recent budget cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities which reduced funding by half. “This is exactly the type of shortsighted reduction that undermines our economic strategy and jeopardizes our vitality for years to come,” he added. “The reduction hurt New Hampshire students and families struggling to pay tuition, said Gov. Lynch.
The Governor also touted the state’s low high school dropout rates, but urged a reexamination of cuts to the dropout prevention programs.
Jobs and the Economy
The Governor touted his “New Hampshire Working” program that provides six weeks of on-the job-training for people collecting unemployment.
He expressed the need to create a highly skilled work force to bring back New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector.
He praised the stimulus-funded Green Launching Pad, which he says has launched 11 companies in the state.
The Governor criticized the legislature for cutting the tobacco tax by 10-cents.
“Already tobacco revenues are running $13 million below last year.” he said. “The cut in the tobacco tax was nonsensical; it would have been better spent on our community college and university system.”
Gov. Lynch called for the widening of Interstate 93. He said delaying it hurts the citizens who must commute, the businesses that depend on it for transporting goods, and the tourism industry.
He urged legislators once again to provide the money needed to complete the $365 million project. “Not only did the Legislature not act on Interstate 93 funding, it cut overall highway fund revenue by $90 million,” he said. Gov. Lynch urged the legislature to come together and show the necessary political will to complete the widening by 2016.
Gov. Lynch said the problem with health care in our country is “not that we don’t spend enough money. We are not just spending it efficiently.”
He touted his Citizens Health Initiative and a medical home pilot, which pays providers a small monthly fee so that they can spend time managing and coordinating the care of their patients.
Gov. Lynch says the state should create its own health insurance exchange so the federal government does not do it for the state.
“A well-designed health insurance exchange can make it easier for businesses to compare and obtain affordable health insurance,” said Gov. Lynch.
Among other topics, Gov. Lynch said he opposes expanded gambling. He also told lawmakers that the recent rash of gun legislation is undermining public safety.