Public education is always a top issue in state and local politics. It is without question that a high quality public education is essential to the wellbeing of our communities. In New Hampshire today, there is a lot of concern about the way schools are funded and how that affects our communities and the quality of the schools in property poor areas of the state. In the second oldest state in the US, it is essential to realize that an exceptional educational system is one of biggest factors considered by businesses when deciding where to locate and by young families when deciding where they want to live and raise their families. It is vital that we find a way to adequately fund our schools that is fair to every community.
According to New Hampshire Business Review, New Hampshire relies more heavily on property taxes to fund state and local government than any other state. It is an inherently regressive tax that puts an inordinate burden on the poor, the young, and the elderly. The result of this disproportionate tax load is that property poor communities are forced to close schools and offer fewer opportunities to their students, young people wishing to stay in New Hampshire or relocate here are often priced out of the housing market, and the elderly on fixed incomes are unable to stay in their homes. Finding a better system that takes some of the pressure off property taxes is essential to the continued health and development of New Hampshires evolving economy.
In an aging state with significant taxation issues, healthcare should be a major focus of New Hampshire's policy makers. New Hampshire being the second oldest state in the US, with an average age of 43, has significant policy implications, not the least of which is healthcare. As we get older, our spending on healthcare increases dramatically. According to RegisgeredNursing.com, our healthcare spending increases from less than $3000 per year from age18-44 to over $6400 per year from 45-64 to over $11,300 per year after age 65. Without a change in recent demographic trends, an aging population means increasing pressure on healthcare capacity and access to services, such as assisted living and nursing facilities. With two out of every three nursing home residents on Medicaid, the burden of funding will fall squarely on a shrinking population of younger residents.