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Tamara’s Tale: Transgender Veteran Fights for Equal Rights at Work (VIDEO)

Tamara’s Tale

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) just released this powerful new video about one transgendered woman’s fight against workplace discrimination.

Since she was very young, Tamara Lusardi has been familiar with a life of service. She is a self-described “Air Force brat” who grew up to serve in the Armed Forces, and later, as a public servant. She’s a member of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1858 in Alabama and works as a civilian employee with the Department of Defense. She is also transgender.

Despite her disabled veteran status and career of public service, Lusardi was met with discrimination at the worksite. Her supervisor often refused to acknowledge her as she wished and she met resistance when trying to go about her day like any other employee.

But Lusardi didn’t back down or let others continue to tread on her dignity. In 2014, with the help of AFGE and the Transgender Law Center, she fought back against the workplace discrimination and won.

Her case set an important precedent in the federal government for other transgender employees. Learn more about AFGE’s advocacy for LGBT issues at the AFGE Pride 2015 page and read AFGE’s Women’s and Fair Practices Departments Federal Employees Transgender Model Policy.

Workplace discrimination of any kind is wrong and all workers deserve respect and dignity in the workplace.  Collectively we must work to strengthen our laws to ensure that members of the LGBTQ community are protected from workplace discriminations.

Video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1ee049xHmw&feature=youtu.be

 

VIDEO: See The Trailer For The New Documentary On The Market Basket Boycott

food-fight“The largest non-union labor strike in U.S. history.”

Last summer, corporate greed attempted destroy what Arthur T Demoulas had spent a lifetime creating, a local family run grocery store chain that kept prices low and and treated all associates with respect.

When the Board of Directors threaten to oust Artie T in early 2014, workers were quick to stand up for their beloved boss.  He was more that just the CEO to them, he was their friend.  Artie T created a corporation that paid associates well and was always there when a member of the Market Basket family was in need.

Market Basket was also famous for giving back to all their employees for making Market Basket great.  Artie T gave annual profit sharing bonuses to every employee. This was one of the things the greedy Board of Directors wanted to end.

In the summer of 2014, the Board staged a coup and tossed Artie T out.  Instantly there was massive outcry from Market Basket associates across the region.  Associates began walking out in protest.  Entry level baggers to store managers began protesting in front of their stores to bring Artie T back.

The protests grew and the public began to boycott Market Basket until Artie T was reinstated as CEO.

It worked! The boycott and the walkouts by associates brought the billion dollar corporation to it’s knees. The entire community rallied behind the CEO, of all people.

This fall, a new documentary on the Market Basket boycott, “Food Fight,” is coming out and they have just released their first trailer!

I cannot wait to see this!

Food Fight – Official First Trailer from Jay Childs/ JBC Communications on Vimeo.

#FITN: Jeb Bush’s Record Of Attacking Public Workers

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

Today, Government Executive posted a blistering article about the newest candidate in the GOP Primary, Jeb Bush.

The article highlights Jeb Bush’s attack on public workers in Florida and how he slashed the number government employees by over 25% and sold those services of to for profit industries.

Privatization became the “signature of his administration,” Crew wrote of Bush. The governor expanded contracted services to include previous government operations such as criminal defense, certain welfare benefits, child protection and the staffing of nursing homes for veterans.

As Governor, Jeb Bush stripped workers of their right to due process and gave managers overwhelming discretion to fire workers.

Bush successfully stripped Florida’s 16,000 career managers and supervisors of due process protections by turning them into at-will employees. Also during his governorship, Bush changed the policy for “cause” from a specific list of fireable items to the much broader “sound discretion of an agency head.”

…“I look forward to the time when these buildings of government are empty,” Bush said in his second inaugural address. “There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we make these buildings around us empty of workers, monuments to a time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”

What would Jeb Bush do as President? Would he eliminate entire agencies like other candidates have proposed? Would he sell off those agency services to his Wall Street buddies under the guise of privatization?

Federal workers should be aware that if Jeb Bush somehow becomes President, their jobs would be on the chopping block.  Jeb wants to take more from the dedicated hard working men and women of the federal government, just like his brother and his father did when they were President.

Excerpt from Government Executive below

Why a Jeb Bush Presidency Could Mean
Far Less Job Security for Feds

Throughout his governorship, Bush called for government to be stripped to its essential core, and followed up the rhetoric with the downsizing of Florida’s bureaucracy.

“My hope is that we’ll have a smaller government in terms of workforce,” Bush said at the outset of this tenure, “but a better government.” He has, at other times, referred to government as a “dinosaur.”

…Bush successfully stripped Florida’s 16,000 career managers and supervisors of due process protections by turning them into at-will employees. Also during his governorship, Bush changed the policy for “cause” from a specific list of fireable items to the much broader “sound discretion of an agency head.” He coupled those policies with a directive to all state agencies requiring them to issue blueprints for reducing their workforces by 25 percent.

…Bush offered a reminder of his penchant for firing government workers last month, when he criticized the Obama administration for not firing more employees at the Veterans Affairs Department in the wake of the waitlist manipulation scandal.

…“I look forward to the time when these buildings of government are empty,” Bush said in his second inaugural address. “There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we make these buildings around us empty of workers, monuments to a time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”

…Privatization became the “signature of his administration,” Crew wrote of Bush. The governor expanded contracted services to include previous government operations such as criminal defense, certain welfare benefits, child protection and the staffing of nursing homes for veterans.

Bush also significantly increased the temporary workforce, employees with no access to health care, retirement or other benefits afforded to career workers.  Even for those in permanent positions, the average salary dropped during the Bush administration while the probationary period for new employees jumped from six months to one year.

…The newest entrant into the ever-growing race for the Republican nomination has faced some controversy in dealing with government workers’ pensions. Bush has been accused of pushing pension administrators to invest with his donors. He created an incentive program for municipalities to give their employees larger pensions, but the expiration of the temporary state-level funding has led tomassive unfunded liabilities in some areas.

Thank You To Those Who Voted Against The TPP, However The Fight Is Not Over

Working Families Have Spoken And Washington Was Listening.

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives held a vote on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which failed by a 126 to 302 vote, due to strong opposition from House Democrats.

For months, progressives and labor advocates have been speaking out against the TPP. Senators Warren and Sanders have made their opposition to the TPP a main talking point in all of their recent speeches. They spoke out because the White House was negotiating the TPP in secret. What little information has been leaked on the proposed deal shows that the deal would be harmful to American workers, continuing the failed policies of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Fast Track legislation narrowly passed the Senate however House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rallied House Democrats against it.

“Nancy Pelosi has always fought for working families and today her leadership on the trade package vote was instrumental in the House voting against another bad trade deal,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “She stood up against corporate interests and as always put first the people who are too often left out of trade agreement discussions. I applaud Rep. Pelosi’s bravery and leadership on this and look forward to working with her on good trade bills.”

“The House leadership tried to use a gimmick to push Fast Track through Congress. In rejecting an extremely weakened Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) package, representatives today stood with working families who want good jobs and thriving communities,” wrote the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

House Democrats like Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) truly understand why it is important to stop this Fast Track legislation.

“Every day, I’m fighting to support New Hampshire workers, small businesses, and family farms, which all deserve a strong say in our nation’s trade policies. I believe the trade promotion authority legislation currently before Congress fails to give these groups a real seat at the table, and fails to include necessary protections for American jobs and workers, which is why I plan to vote against it,” said Kuster in a written statement just days before the vote.

“The New Hampshire AFLCIO is especially proud of Congresswomen Kuster who stood strong in the face of tremendous political pressure to do what was best for New Hampshire workers and workers everywhere,” said Mark MacKenzie, President of the NH AFL-CIO.

It was not just Leader Pelosi who made this vote against the TPP a reality. It was the combined actions of millions of hard working Americans who lobbied their Congressional Representatives to oppose this secret trade deal.

“American workers came together and spoke with one voice about the path their country and economy should follow. We are very grateful for all the activists, families, community leaders, and elected officials who worked so tirelessly for transparency and worker rights in international trade deals,” Trumka said.

“This is a victory for hard-working men and women all across America. In the face of long odds, the American people sent a powerful message that their interests trump narrow political agendas and special interests,” said Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

“Today, we saw elected leaders stand up and make clear that the failed promises of global trade agreements, which only seem to serve irresponsible corporations, must come to an end. More importantly, we have seen what hard-working families can accomplish when we stand together and fight for what is right for both workers and this nation,” Perrone said.

“We keep score. We see the Democrats and the Republicans that stood with us. TAA was the only way to get Fast Track through, and despite the efforts of the President, TAA failed. The subsequent vote on Fast Track itself proved this as we failed to stop Fast Track by a margin of eight votes – just a difference of four votes either way. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi got it right when she said that Democrats have always supported TAA but not as a path to Fast Track,” said CWA past President Larry Cohen, leader of the coalition work on Fast Track.

CWA President Chris Shelton said, “I’ve never been prouder of our union and the work CWA members do. We’ll continue to fight back and build the movement we need.”

Organized labor relied heavily on their progressive allies, like CREDO Action to help spread the word of the dangers of passing this “NAFTA on steroids,” Fast Track legislation.

“The failure of the White House to win a key vote to advance Fast Track Authority for the TPP shows that the millions of Americans who spoke out against job killing trade deals are making a big difference despite an all out effort by Wall Street lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, and the White House to ram this through,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO Action.

However the fight over the TPP is far from over. House leadership has already stated that they will hold another vote on the Trade Authorization Assistance package early next week.

“This fight is not over,” Zaheed continued. “CREDO will continue to fight against Fast Track and any treaty that puts the rights of multinational corporations over the rights of the American people.”

We need our elected leaders to stay strong against the fierce lobbying arm of Wall Street and Big Business.

“We must fully defeat Fast Track, so that Congress can work for trade deals that give working families at least as much standing as corporations. We need 21st century trade that works for all of us, not just investors and multinational corporations,” wrote the CWA.

“Our broad coalition of Americans — representing millions of union members, environmental activists, immigrant rights advocates, people of faith, students, public health and consumer advocates, community leaders and so many more — will keep up the fight until Fast Track is defeated,” CWA concluded.

The New Hampshire Labor News would like to thank all of the Representatives who chose to stand with working families in opposition to this disastrous trade agreement. We the people have spoken and we thank you for listening! We hope that you will continue to stay strong in your opposition and defeat this disastrous trade agreement once and for all.

Baltimore Steelworker Invites Pres. Obama to Witness Results of Past Failed Trade Policies

AFL-CIO, USW Launches New Trade Ad

(Washington, DC) – A new ad from the AFL-CIO and USW highlights how the loss of manufacturing jobs due to bad trade policy over the past 30 years has hit African-American populations especially hard in cities like Baltimore. The video makes clear that the battle over Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not about politics: it’s about people like former steelworker Mike Lewis.

“One can’t help but be saddened. This was once called the ‘Beast of the East.’ We made the steel that went into the Golden Gate Bridge…” Lewis says in a video message to President Obama, while standing on the decimated site where he proudly worked for 32 years as a full-time crane operator. The dream of economic opportunities disappeared in August of 2012 when Mike and 2,100 of his steelworker brothers and sisters who permanently lost their jobs at the steel plant in Sparrows Point in Baltimore.

The union hall where workers came together for so many years in good times  has been a food bank that many rely on to feed their families. The closing of the steel plant and other manufacturing plants started the economic downfall that many in the African-American community have not recovered from.

“We want the American people to know that bad trade policies have terrible consequences for workers. This battle isn’t about a political party, it’s about the thousands of people just like Mike Lewis who simply want a fair chance to earn a good living and put food on their table,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Mike has a simple message for the President: “President Obama, we welcome you to come to the site of what failed trade policies have brought, the devastation of this facility. Please come, please take a look at the devastation of three decades of failed trade policies.”

The ad will begin as an initial web buy with key targeted audiences and escalate based on the timing of the Fast Track trade fight.

Rep Annie Kuster Announces Her Postion On Proposed Fast Track Legislation In The House

In the coming days the US House will be voting on the Fast Track legislation that would give the White House the authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest trade agreement in US history.

As the possible vote gets closer and closer, labor advocates have been pushing their local legislators to vote against this Fast Track bill because it will only benefit the corporations and would lead to more jobs being sent overseas.

Nationally, the AFL-CIO has been cranking up the pressure on legislators ahead of the vote. (Read more here.)

Today, the NH Labor News received this exclusive statement from Congresswoman Annie Kuster, clarifying her position on the proposed Fast Track legislation.

Ann kuster head shot LG“Every day, I’m fighting to support New Hampshire workers, small businesses, and family farms, which all deserve a strong say in our nation’s trade policies.  I believe the trade promotion authority legislation currently before Congress fails to give these groups a real seat at the table, and fails to include necessary protections for American jobs and workers, which is why I plan to vote against it.”

Thank you Congresswoman Kuster for standing up for working families here in New Hampshire, and across the nation.

Be sure to share this post, and include your own message of thanks to Congresswoman Kuster (Twitter: @RepAnnieKuster).

NH Senate Republicans Force Through Their Reckless Budget

“Senate Republicans’ Unbalanced Budget Will Hurt Small Businesses And Middle Class Families, Take NH’s Economy Backward,”
said NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley

Concord, NH – The Senate today approved their version of the state budget for the FY 2016-2017 biennium, opting to include a series of revenue draining business tax cuts while declining to reauthorize the state’s Medicaid Expansion program. New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch issued the following statement:

“The fiscally irresponsible budget approved by the Senate today reduces the state’s already limited revenue while simultaneously neglecting to adequately fund mental health, higher education, and other critical programs.”

“In light of the Department of Revenue Administration’s new findings that the Senate’s proposed tax cuts will primarily benefit a small number of very large businesses operating in the state, we should be especially concerned that these revenue losses will simply flow out of the state with no benefit to New Hampshire.”

“There is no guarantee that these tax cuts will produce jobs or economic growth for New Hampshire, but they will leave the state with fewer resources to invest in the things we need today to keep our economy strong: good schools, safe roads, a healthy workforce, and public services that support the state’s current high quality of life.”

“New Hampshire needs to compete on the things that really matter to residents and businesses alike. We need reliable infrastructure, affordable higher education, strong communities, and clean parks and recreation spaces if we are to attract new employers and residents to the state, and to ensure that those who are already here make the decision to stay.”

“By declining to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, this budget creates needless uncertainty for the more than 40,000 individuals who are currently enrolled in the program and may lose access to health coverage.”

“While the Senate’s budget makes some important strides in restoring funding for vital human services, it leaves many gaps that will hurt our citizens and threaten New Hampshire’s future success.”

“While the Senate’s budget is an improvement over the House version, we must still come together and compromise across party lines to ensure that we have a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that will keep New Hampshire’s economy moving forward,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. “As we prepare to enter Committee of Conference, I remain ready and willing to work with legislative leadership to pass a compromise, balanced and bipartisan budget that makes the strategic investments needed to help expand middle class opportunity, support job-creating businesses, encourage innovation, and attract and retain more young people here in New Hampshire.”

“I continue to have serious concerns that the Senate’s plan is unbalanced and will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward. The plan includes large tax cuts that will create a hole in this budget and budgets well into the future and relies on gimmicks that will ultimately leave the budget unbalanced. Meanwhile, this plan fails to reauthorize our bipartisan health care expansion plan that is providing coverage to more than 40,000 hard-working Granite Staters and reducing cost-shifting onto all of our people and businesses. It also fails to adequately fund higher education, substance misuse, mental health, corrections and transportation, and it does not include the fairly negotiated contract for state employees,” continued Hassan.

“It is clear that any budget that relies exclusively on the votes of one political party will fail to meet the expectations of our citizens, the needs of our businesses and the needs of our economy. Now is the time to work together, negotiate in good faith, and continue to make bipartisan progress on our shared priorities for the people and businesses of New Hampshire,” concluded Hassan.

“At the start of the Senate budget process, Senate Democrats made clear that we were ready to work across party lines, just like we did two years ago, to pass a fiscally responsible budget that will move our economy forward,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “Unfortunately, Senate Republicans took a very different approach. The partisan budget approved by Senate Republicans today prioritizes special interests and tax giveaways for big, out-of-state businesses over New Hampshire’s people and small businesses. Their budget ends the state’s business-backed, bipartisan Medicaid expansion program, which means that more than 40,000 people will lose coverage and businesses and individuals will be forced to pay the ‘hidden tax’ that results from cost-shifting of uncompensated care. The budget passed today by Senate Republicans is unacceptable and Senate Democrats will continue to fight for an honest and balanced budget that expands opportunity for all, supports businesses throughout our state, and lays the foundation for a new generation of economic growth.”

“Senate Republicans have passed a budget that simply doesn’t do what they say it does,” added Sen. Andrew Hosmer, member of the Senate Finance Committee. “By using the same budget gimmicks we’ve seen in Concord for years, Senate Republicans are once again promising more services than their budget can actually deliver. If any one of Senate Republicans’ questionable assumptions goes wrong, our state will be in trouble. The bottom line is that Senate Republicans’ fiscally irresponsible gimmicks leave this budget unbalanced – and that is unacceptable.”

“We’ve heard a lot from Senate Republicans about the things they think we can’t afford to fund in the budget. They said we can’t afford to lower tuition at our community colleges, fix our roads and bridges, fully fund mental health and substance misuse services, staff our corrections system at safe levels, or even operate the Sununu Center, which is critical for at risk youth,” said Deputy Democratic Leader Donna Soucy. “But while Senate Republicans said we can’t afford to do all those things, it’s important to look at what they thought we could afford. This Senate Republican budget includes tax giveaways for big, out-of-state businesses and a provision that would undermine regulation of a controversial taxpayer funded risk pool in order to do a special favor for their friends. The reality is that while we can’t afford to do special favors for Senate Republicans’ friends, instead we need to invest in our state’s people, businesses and economy.”

“Despite what they say, the Senate Republicans’ budget is neither compassionate nor responsible,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, ranking Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It’s not too late for Senate Republicans to put aside their partisanship and work across party lines with Senate Democrats and the Governor to finalize a budget that’s truly responsive to the needs of New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy. We know that we can – and must – work together to craft a budget, because it’s in the best interest of our state’s economic future.”

“Senate Republicans’ budget includes gimmicks that mean they’re not actually funding what they say they are. Not to mention that they’ve chosen to give big business tax giveaways instead of adequately funding critical economic priorities like substance misuse treatment and continuing our state’s successful Medicaid expansion program,” said NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.  “There is still time for Senate Republicans to finally put their partisanship aside and actually negotiate with Governor Hassan to pass a responsible budget that will move New Hampshire’s economy forward.”

RELATED READING: Full Senate Rejects Amendment to Include Employees’ Contract in Budget

AFL-CIO Press Conference Ends with TPP Critics Being Locked Out of US Trade Representative Office

Show Us The Jobs TPP AFLCIO Banner

(Washington, DC, Tuesday, June 2) – Today, under the backdrop of a huge “Show Us the Text, Show Us the Jobs” banner, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre gathered with critics of Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to reinforce the message that working people won’t stand for another bad trade deal.

At the end of the press conference, a delegation of critics that included a faith leader, a nurse, an environmental activist, a veteran, a postal worker and a student walked to the United States Trade Representative’s office to ask to read the text. A large crowd followed and all were disappointed when they tried to enter the public visitor entrance and found the doors locked.

Earlier in the morning, Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Lloyd Doggett, Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen and critics of the TPP made it clear that they are not going to let another bad trade deal sail through Congress.

“Even though this trade deal will affect 40 percent of the world’s GDP, and even though no prior trade deal USTR has negotiated has ever lived up to its promises, and even though the administration has promised that this would be the most progressive, transparent trade deal in history, we still can’t see the text.” said Shuler.

Fast track supporters argue that the public will have 60 days to read the text on the internet before the President signs it.

“That is no change if we can’t make amendments to it. We need to see exactly what’s different in this Fast Track authority that’s any different from NAFTA or CAFTA, Gebre said. “We’re for trade that uplifts everybody. We’re against trade that drops everybody down and unfortunately our government over and over and over again has decided to drag us down instead of lift us up.”

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who has been asking to see the text for months wants answers.

“If this agreement were so good you’d be able to read it. But they’ve got a lot to hide in this agreement,” said Doggett. “On issue after issue we need to see the contract and we need to be able to read the text.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has been championing the fight against Fast Track in Congress, fired up the crowd.

“Thank you for letting the country know about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track,” DeLauro said. “Thank you for pressing Congress and the administration and saying do the right thing for the American people.”

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen looked out at the crowd and reiterated that American workers are unified in opposition to Fast Track.

“Are you on the side of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or are you on the side of the American worker?” Cohen said. “Are you a corporate democrat or a people’s democrat? We had 30 years of work for less.

Workers Locked Out of USTR – YouTube Video and Twitter pictures and video

Read:  AFL-CIO Analysis of TPP and USTR Interaction

 

It ALEC Cheating US Tax Codes As A Non-Profit Charity?

Are corporations who fund ALEC given tax breaks for funding a right wing political lobbying organization?

Is ALEC cheating the system?

The answer to both is YES!  ALEC is technically a 501 (c) 3 or non-profit charity and because of their c3 status and corporation who donates to ALEC would be eligible to receive a tax credit for donating to a charity organization.

For three years the Center for Media and Democracy have been waiting to hear from the IRS over charges levied against ALEC for violating the charity tax status by actively lobbying politicians.

Watch this short video from The Undercurrent as they explain it all.

 

Governor Hassan And Senate Democrats Expresses Serious Concerns About Senate Finance Budget

Senate Finance Plan Would Hurt NH Businesses and Middle Class Families, Relies on Gimmicks That Will Leave Budget Unbalanced

Hassan: “Any budget that relies exclusively on the votes of one political party will fail to meet the expectations of our citizens and the needs of our economy.”

BudgetCONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan said today that she has serious concerns that the Senate Finance Committee budget is unbalanced, contains misleading budget gimmicks and includes budget-busting tax cuts for big businesses that will hurt New Hampshire’s middle-class families, small businesses and economy.

“There are still several steps remaining in the budget process before a final bill makes its way to my desk, and I remain willing to roll up my sleeves and work toward a compromise, bipartisan budget that moves New Hampshire forward,” Governor Hassan said. “But I have serious concerns that the Senate Finance Committee’s partisan plan will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward while relying on gimmicks that will ultimately leave the budget unbalanced.”

“Senate Republican leadership says that New Hampshire can’t afford to lower tuition at the community colleges, provide a modest cost-of-living increase to employees, fix our roads, fund mental health or even adequately staff our correctional institutions or our juvenile justice system. They even say that in the midst of a heroin epidemic, New Hampshire can’t afford to adequately fund substance misuse prevention and treatment.

“But instead of funding those priorities, Senate Republican leadership included large tax cuts that will create a hole in this budget and budgets well into the future,” Governor Hassan continued.

“All session long, Senate Democrats have urged our Republican colleagues to put partisan politics aside and have a serious budget conversation about how we can work together under the Governor’s leadership to expand middle class opportunity, support small businesses, and keep our state’s economy moving in the right direction,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “Unfortunately, the budget approved by the Senate Republicans prioritizes special interests and tax giveaways for big, out-of-state businesses over the people of New Hampshire.”

“Instead of joining with us to invest in our shared priorities as we did in the last bipartisan budget, the Senate Republican budget undermines our economic future, sets the state on precarious financial footing, and is neither compassionate nor responsible. It uses fiscally irresponsible budget gimmicks that have been decried by members of both parties—which means that the Senate Republicans are once again promising more services than their budget can actually deliver,” Woodburn continued.

Governor Hassan also said she had serious concerns that the Senate Finance Committee did not reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, leaving the 40,158 New Hampshire citizens who had enrolled in the bipartisan program through May 26 in jeopardy of losing their health insurance in the second year of this budget. The program will receive a 95 percent federal match in 2017, but the legislature also did not include the money necessary to continue it.

“It is wrong to leave 40,000 people on the edge of losing their health insurance. The uncertainty is also bad for our health insurance market and our economy, and it could lead to rising rates for all consumers or insurers deciding not to offer coverage in New Hampshire in 2017 – something that will hurt all of our citizens,” Governor Hassan said.

“The Senate Republican budget includes cuts to mental health, substance abuse treatment, public safety and higher education—all of which undermines our efforts to build a stronger economic future,” Sen. Woodburn continued. “Their budget also ends the state’s business-backed, bipartisan Medicaid expansion program, which means that 40,000 people will lose coverage and businesses will be forced to pay the ‘hidden tax’ that results from cost-shifting of uncompensated care. And instead of fixing these devastating cuts, Senate Republicans decided to give tax cuts to large, out-of-state corporations.”

Governor Hassan also raised concerns about the Senate Finance Committee’s use of budget gimmicks and back-of-the budget cuts, misleading people about what is actually funded.

“The Senate Finance Committee claims to have ‘restored’ $6.5 million in mental health funding, but then they turned around and told the Department of Health and Human Services to cut $6.5 million from mental health services,” Governor Hassan said. “The committee’s continued reliance on irresponsible budget gimmicks will put our state on perilous financial footing and undermine the legislature’s constitutional duty to balance the budget.”

Some of the budget gimmicks and the back of the budget cuts in the Senate Finance Budget include:

  • Assuming $34 million from Fiscal Year 2015 will be left over to carry forward into Fiscal Year 2016.  In making that calculation, the Senate Finance Committee is double counting $15 million in lapses; not counting $3 million in additional appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015 authorized by the Fiscal Committee or by state law; and counting the $7 million in savings from Health and Human Services 2015 back-of-the-budget cut even as they directed Health and Human Services to spend that $7 million.
  • Not accounting for the impact their business tax cuts will have on estimated payments and business tax revenues in Fiscal Year 2016.
  • Saying they are restoring $6.25 million in mental health funding, while at the same time directing the Department of Health and Human Services to cut $6.25 million in mental health funding.
  • Assuming $3.5 million reduction at the Sununu Youth Services Center in 2015 with no plan for how to achieve the savings.
  • Assuming unrealistic savings estimates in Health and Human Services, include a caseload drop of 2 percent; and $12.5 million in “savings” from additional managed care programs.
  • Increasing lapse estimates by $9 million.
  • Diverting funds from last year’s bipartisan transportation funding plan from road work to operations and assuming the Department of Transportation can balance its budget through a federal financing vehicle that has not yet been approved by the federal Department of Transportation.
  • Failing to fully fund winter maintenance for the Department of Transportation.
  • Directing the Department of Transportation to pay for the widening of Route 106 with operational funds, without identifying where they should cut to make those payments.

“Any budget that relies exclusively on the votes of one political party will fail to meet the expectations of our citizens and the needs of our economy. I urge the legislature to work across party lines to pass a bipartisan budget that is honest about what it chooses to fund and invests in the priorities that are critical to the success of our people, our businesses and our economy,” Governor Hassan said.

“This budget proposal is unacceptable and Senate Democrats will continue to fight for an honest and balanced budget that expands opportunity for all, supports businesses throughout our state, and lays the foundation for a new generation of economic growth. Senate Republicans must put aside their partisan ambitions and work across party lines with Senate Democrats and the Governor to finalize a budget that’s truly responsible for New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy,” Woodburn concluded.

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