Update: Policy debate must be based on the actual bill; not the Governor’s mistakes

In response to the Governor’s statement yesterday, Josiah Bartlett Center President Charlie Arlinghaus released the following call for a retraction:

“Earlier this week, we corrected the factually incorrect part of Governor Lynch’s veto statement on the School Choice Scholarship Act.  Rather than admit his mistake, he doubled down. On the front page of today’s New Hampshire Union Leader, Governor Lynch reiterates a claim that the bill he vetoed does something it doesn’t. His claim is clearly and demonstrably incorrect and he should immediately correct the record. He is free to veto the bill but anything more than a cursory reading immediately shows that the bill simply does the opposite of what he claims. Every scholarship is means tested. He continues to claim they are not. This is not a matter of opinion. The plain language of the bll requires every scholarship to be means tested, but the Governor contines to claim that some are not.

“The source of the Governor’s error is easily tracked. He incorrectly suggests that only 70% of scholarships are means tested. The only time the number 70 appears in the bill is in requiring 70% of scholarships to go to students currently in public schools. The language of that paragraph (section 77-G:2, I, (b) of the law) refers back to the section about existing public school children. The section on means testing is nearby so perhaps someone skimming the document would make that error. But it is an error and I suspect the Governor knows that by now. In the interest of good government, he must now retract his claim to correct an egregious mistake.

“The dispute over the Governor’s mistake is not an academic argument. It is important that as bills are debated, they rise and fall on the basis of what they actually say. The Governor simply must correct the record immediately. He is free to oppose the bill for other reasons but every scholarship is means tested and he must not officially claim otherwise.”