Read below for more details on today’s action organized by our friends at AFSC-NH, and participated in by the NH Campaign for a People’s Budget (of which NHCC is a member). You can learn more below about our “love bomb” preaching love thy neighbor, and care of the vulnerable.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 14, 2023
Program Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee, NH Program
Director, American Friends Service Committee, NH Program
Broad Coalition Urges Legislators to “Show Love” with the State Budget by Investing in People and Communities
“New Hampshire people deserve a state budget that invests in our communities’ health, education, recovery, opportunity, and vitality. In order to achieve this, we also need fair and adequate taxation that invites all of us to contribute to the common good, in accordance with our ability to pay. “ –from the Demands, NH Campaign for a People’s Budget
Concord, NH – More than 50 advocates, including faith leaders and activists from a broad cross-section of community groups and issues, greeted lawmakers today as they gathered to hear Governor Sununu’s biennial budget address. Advocates gave Valentine’s Day bookmarks to representatives and senators as they arrived for the joint convening. The bookmarks carried messages urging legislators to support investments in public education, mental health supports, environmental sustainability and more.
“Today is a day to recognize the love people have for family members, friends, neighbors, and communities. As a state, we show our love and care for each other in the form of policies and programs that protect each other’s health and well-being, supporting each other’s ability to achieve economic security and reach their fullest potential,” said event organizer Grace Kindeke, NH Program Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee which convenes the NH Campaign for a People’s Budget. The campaign, which formed during the 2021 budget process, includes diverse members including the NH Youth Movement, the NH Council of Churches, 350NH, NH Voices of Faith, among other organizations. Members organize to create opportunities for New Hampshire residents to engage in the state budget process and make their voices heard. Read the campaign demands here.
Over the coming weeks, NH House members will write their own budget bills – H.B. 1 and H.B. 2, as well as a capital budget – which, once approved, will be forwarded to the NH Senate for consideration, amendment and approval. The budget will need to be finalized on or before June 30, 2023, to go into effect on July 1, 2023. The NH Campaign for a People’s Budget will continue to push the legislature to listen to campaign demands and invest in a budget that puts NH communities first.
Representatives from the Campaign’s Organizational Members expressed their support for a People’s Budget for New Hampshire:
Lisa Demaine, Co-Executive Director, 350NH
“We need a state budget that protects the interests of everyday people. We need investments that protect our state from the impacts of the climate crisis, that make sure people are housed, fed, and given the opportunity to thrive. We cannot allow the interests of fossil companies, private education companies, or a few wealthy individuals to dictate our taxation and spending.”
Helen Mrema, Community Organizing Advocate, American Civil Liberties Union NH
“Suppose public safety really meant ensuring the safety and well-being of all? In the Granite State and across the country, spending on law enforcement dramatically outpaces that of critical community services such as housing, a living wage, comprehensive healthcare, quality public education, reliable and safe transportation, and harm reduction programs – the institutions that help build stable, safe, and healthy communities. Now is the time for a People’s Budget that is focused on eliminating poverty and racial disparities, and building a budget for programs and services that will actually improve safety in the community. In order to build a just society that we all dream of, we must invest in people, communities and the programs that support them.”
Maggie Fogarty, Director, American Friends Service Committee
NH People deserve a state budget that invests our tax dollars in excellent public schools; clean air, land and water; high quality affordable housing and childcare; and abundant services for healthcare, mental health and substance misuse treatment. We remind our lawmakers that a moral budget leaves no one behind. We are only as strong and healthy as our most vulnerable residents. And to those who would say that we can’t afford to take care of each other, we call for fair and adequate taxation. When wealthy people pay their fair share, everyone can thrive.
Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director, Granite State Progress
“Granite Staters need a state budget that invests in our people, our communities, and our environment. Our kids deserve a future where every child has the freedom to learn and live in a supportive environment which meets their basic needs. When we invest in a strong public education, housing, health care, child care, and a healthy environment, our families are stronger and our businesses and economy can thrive. Governor Chris Sununu’s budget proposal does not make the grade, but our legislators can work together to draft a budget that invests in our families.”
Mary Wilke, Co-Convener of Education Working Group, Kent Street Coalition
“Every Granite State child deserves a high quality public school education. But although NH is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, we rank last in state funding of public education. Instead of supporting public schools, the state too often has chosen to downshift costs to local communities, leaving many towns and cities unable to tax their way to educational adequacy. This has led to gross disparities across the state, with educational outcomes more often determined by zip code than any other factor. Every single child in NH deserves an excellent, free education, no matter where they live and regardless of their family’s circumstances. It’s way past time for NH to fully fund our public schools. Our budget must provide equal educational opportunities for all.”
Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, NH Council of Churches
“We need a budget that looks out first and foremost for our vulnerable friends and neighbors. Our faith commands us to care first for those who have been left behind by the powerful. A budget is a moral document, and NH is in urgent need of one that reflects the priorities of the majority of Granite Staters. Rates of death from overdose are soaring to near record levels, and rates of substance use continue to rise. We must invest in strong mental health care, harm reduction, and building strong communities that allow all of us to thrive.”
Quincy Abramson, Executive Director, New Hampshire Youth Movement
“Governor Sununu failed to comprehensively address New Hampshire’s most pressing issues, including affordable housing, skyrocketing energy costs, reproductive rights, and child care. Young Granite Staters are deeply invested in seeing progress on these issues, and Governor Sununu just brushed over them. It is clear from this budget that Governor Sununu will continue to leave young people behind in order to continue cutting taxes for massive corporations and wealthy residents.”
Sebastián Fuentes, NH Movement Politics Director, Rights & Democracy
“We need a New Hampshire where our children can have a fair and honest education, where our youth can grow and excel, where young families can afford not only a home but are able to heat it and keep the lights on. Where our seniors can enjoy life with dignity and respect. We need a New Hampshire that welcomes every single individual that wants to make this their home and bring positive change. Enough politics and special interests, it is time for our leaders to listen to their constituents and create a New Hampshire for all. This budget will open the doors for that to happen.”
Rev. John M. Gregory-Davis, Co-Pastor, Meriden Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
It’s long past time for our state budget to reflect real love for the people with whom we are blessed to share our state. Words expressing such concern mean nothing until they are supported by the investments needed to fund the essential services and commitment to the common good called for in the NH Campaign for a People’s Budget. NH does not have a spending problem—instead we continue to perpetuate the myth of scarcity inherent in our self-imposed revenue problem. Either we choose to allocate our resources in ways that ensure the well-being of all our neighbors, or we must admit that our choices not to do so reflect the reality of whose lives simply do not matter enough to us. Budgets reveal our inherent morality or lack thereof. Only a true People’s Budget can move us toward the Beloved Community to which we aspire.
Claudia Istel, Secretary, Economic Justice Mission Group, NH Conference of the United Church of Christ
“The well-being of New Hampshire depends on the well-being of each of its residents. When our workers are earning a living wage, when all our residents have affordable healthcare and housing and energy, when all our children receive an adequate education and adults have affordable options for further education, when every Granite Stater is respected regardless of their race, gender, immigration status, or socio-economic status, when our state is committed to sustainability, we will have stronger communities. The state budget should work for everyone, not just those with the most political capital. The People’s Budget demands address these issues, to raise the well-being of every Granite Stater.”