I would like to take a moment to describe something very different from the norm. Democrats have turned their noses up at a $46 million gift from the federal government in the form of a no-cost grant for public education.

The Democratic-controlled Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee recently voted, not once but twice to turn down a $46 million federal grant to expand education innovation and charter schools in New Hampshire.

Thanks to Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and his staff, the approved grant was twice the amount approved for any other state.

Under the terms of the award, funding would be prioritized for programs seeking to serve New Hampshire’s “economically and educationally disadvantaged students” by awarding up to $1.5 million to school districts and independent charter schools seeking to serve these populations.

Additionally, funding would also be available for expansion or replication of high-quality programs.

One Democratic state representative, ignorant of the fact that charter schools are, in fact, public schools, wrote on her Facebook page: “F--- private schools and religious schools.” If a Republican had said that, they would have been impeached.

In a letter dated Dec, 18, 2019, N.H. Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (D-Dist. 2) demonstrated a pathetic lack of civility or compassion when he referred to the $46 million grant as a means to “undermine public education in our state.”

In September 2017, Councilor Volinsky described public charter schools as a tool to advance the “extreme right’s agenda.”

My question is, isn’t that what they’ve been doing for the past 40 years? You can’t make this stuff up. And now, he’s running for governor? God help us.

Even worse is the fact that it’s been stated by at least one Democratic member of the fiscal committee that the grant will never be approved until charter schools are unionized.

It seems the Democrats on the committee talk big about supporting the children and what’s best for them, but when it comes to voting on the matter, their true colors become blatantly evident and the education of all of our children takes a back seat to union bosses.

Here are the good and the bad ramifications of the fact that charter schools, although public schools, are not unionized. First and foremost, it’s quite evident, they must be punished for not being unionized. Second, charter schools don’t actively search for new positions to be hired, to ensure the union’s coffers remain full. And third, they don’t keep excess buildings or classrooms open when not needed. I wonder if that could be part of the reason why, relative to unionized public schools, over the last several years, student enrollment in the state is down several percentage points, yet the hiring of teachers, administrative staff and others is up more than a combined 40 percent.

Commissioner Edelblut is currently working with the U.S. Department of Education to see what options are available to make certain the entire $46 million grant is not lost. Upon being informed of the anti-education vote, Gov. Chris Sununu made the following statement: “I’m sickened by the vote, and now the Democrats must explain to every, single student why they rejected an unprecedented $46 million grant for public schools.”

A new subject: HB 735 FN, otherwise known as the “carbon tax.” Although tabled during a recent legislative session, the plan could be to bring it back at some later date.

Either that, or the Democrats are catching on to the fact that every time they foolishly pass one of these off-the-wall bills, knowing it will be vetoed, it costs them dearly.

This bill, sponsored by Democrats, creates a tax on any product that has a carbon footprint.

History teaches that the cost of any tax is ultimately borne by the consumer.

This proposed tax would be levied on the amount of carbon emitted, starting at $20 per unit of CO2, increasing incrementally over four years to $53.05 per unit of CO2. It would create revenue of $300 million in its first year, up to $800 million in its fourth year.

Although the tax would be collected from numerous entities, the real cost, $800 million annually, would ultimately be passed down to the consumer in higher electric bills and more.

In just the first year of the tax, the Public Utilities Commission states that the cost to the consumer would be an increase of $45 per short ton of coal, a 20-cent increase per gallon of fuel oil, a $1.06 increase per cubic foot of natural gas, plus an undetermined increase in the cost of electricity as well as the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

Is this what we need when we are already one of the highest priced electricity-cost states in the country? I think not!

Frank McCarthy is a former Republican state representative from Conway.

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