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“Party for the Planet” this Wednesday at Redhook Brewery!

Party_for_Planet_BenStampStampede.org founder Ben Cohen will “Party for the Planet” with the Green Alliance at Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth this Wednesday, April 22 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

The party follows an “Earth Day Clean Up” organized by the Green Alliance, which will be held earlier in the day.

The Green Alliance represents over 100 green-certified Business Partners and 4,000 community members, working to increase the profits of companies that have the least impact on the environment.

Redhook has been a green-certified Business Partner with the Green Alliance since 2011.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, is the founder and “Head Stamper” of the Stamp Stampede.  The Stampede is a grassroots movement now including more than 30,000 Americans who are legally rubber-stamping anti-corruption messages onto US currency.  The stamped bills become “miniature billboards” supporting a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  Each stamped dollar bill is seen by an estimated 875 people as it circulates through the local economy.

More than 60 small businesses in the Granite State have joined the Stamp Stampede by hosting “Stamping Stations” where their customers can legally stamp anti-corruption messages on their money and learn more about the issue of #MoneyInPolitics.  Almost 1,000 people in New Hampshire have their own stamps to beautify their bucks with messages like “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.”  The Stamp Stampede plans to stamp 10% of the currency circulating in New Hampshire, to bring attention to the problem and make it an issue in the presidential campaign.

“This is where the collaboration really becomes powerful,” says Green Alliance Director Sarah Brown. “A business like Redhook is ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability and is thrilled to be hosting green business leaders, citizens and Ben Cohen. We want folks to connect the dots between responsible business practices and protecting the environment; all three of our organizations share these values.”

“In order to create a sustainable future, we need to put a stop to pay-to-play culture. Progressive green business leaders are part of that,” adds Cohen. “Too often, big oil and special interest groups use campaign contributions and lobbying muscle to block common-sense pro-sustainability legislation. I’m excited to work with the Green Alliance community to help stamp big money out of politics.”

US government policies on the environment, sustainability and energy are among the issues most affected by special interest spending.

At the grassroots level, there is broad bipartisan support for overturning Citizens United and ending the influence of special interests. Four out of five New Hampshire Republicans think Congress is more interested in special interests than its constituents.  More than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters support a Constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.

So far, 68 of the state’s cities and towns have passed measures calling for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

The New Hampshire Legislature is now considering two measures about Citizens United.  Last month, the House passed a bipartisan measure calling for a Constitutional Convention.  The Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for an amendment, and setting up a study committee to recommend which proposed amendment to support.  So far, 16 other states have called for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get special interest money out of politics.

Wednesday night’s “Party for the Planet” is open to the public and guests will enjoy live music and complimentary eats. The $5 entry donation and $2 from every beer purchased goes to the local environmental non-profit Hodgson Brook Association. There will also be free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, compliments of Cohen.

The Party tops off a drop-in Earth Day clean-up, which runs from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Cleanup participants meet at Redhook to get their collection bags and location, and are urged to pick up as much trash as possible.  Clean-up participants get free raffle tickets for every bag of trash collected.  While Redhook and the Green Alliance encourage folks to participate in both the clean-up and the after-party, they are also separate events and visitors are welcome at either or both.

Redhook has an extensive facility-wide recycling and composting program, reuses water from the brewing process, and sends spent grains to local farmers. Early in 2015 they began purchasing wind energy credits and recently installed an electric car charging station, high-efficiency lights, motion sensors and EnergyStar appliances.

Tietjen Hynes is head of Redhook’s Sustainability Committee, and Operations Project Engineer and has coordinated a cleanup for Pease Tradeport, home to a growing number of environmentally-minded companies. Set up as a corporate participatory Earth Day activity, a number of companies on the Tradeport have already committed employees to the cleanup.

“Lots of Pease companies are participating; many of our neighbors are stepping to the plate. We also welcome individuals and have had some smaller green-minded businesses like Aucella commit to both the clean-up and the party,” says Hynes.

With the help of other Pease Tradeport businesses, Hynes organized the Earth Day cleanup to focus on the Tradeport grounds and nearby Hodgson Brook.  “Hodgson Brook not only runs along the Redhook property, but also throughout the Tradeport and is listed as an impaired waterway,” said Hynes. “Land use and urbanization have degraded the freshwater stream, altered the natural makeup of the brook, and created serious pollution problems. We hope to improve the condition of the brook by reducing the amount of litter.”

Party for the Planet
Wednesday, April 22
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
REDHOOK BREWERY PORTSMOUTH

1 Redhook Way
Pease International Tradeport
Portsmouth, NH 03801

————————

The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

Susan Strong Teaches Us How To Move Our Message By Speaking American

Has this ever happened to you?

You are sitting at a bar and on the TV there is a commercial for a politician that catches your eye and the eyes of the people sitting next to you.  After the commercial ends, you say something (positive or negative) about the politician under your breathe and the person next to you heard it?

EEK! What is going to happen now? Are they going to agree with you, or oppose you?  Will this spark a friendly conversation or will this be the last time you ever walk into this bar?

Has that ever happened to you?  How did it go?

My guess is that it probably went better than you expected because as people sit down and talk they can find a lot more common ground than their elected politicians who are out to push a personal agenda.  It is because we can use common everyday words to find ways to relate to each other.  We talk simplistically and use personal metaphors like “playing by the rules” and “fairness” to make our points.

Now how can we harness this realistic way of speaking to each other to help persuade people to find common ground on legislation and policies that will help to shape America’s future?

Susan Strong recently answered that exact question in a speech she gave at Ted Talks.  Listen to the way she explains, in the video below, how we can incorporate minor changes to the words we use in our speeches and our writing to inspire people and move our message.

I read Susan’s book “Move Our Message” a few years ago and since then I have shared it with dozens of my friends and co-bloggers.  Those of us who do a lot of communicating, but were never really trained as communicators, found the book to be extremely helpful in creating blog posts that really connect with people.

I highly recommend that everyone listen to what Susan is saying here, and then go get her book.  It is relatively inexpensive and worth ten times the price.

These ideas will help you when you’re testifying in front a legislators, writing a speech for a political rally, if you are running for office, or just talking to that person next to you at the bar, and even how to talk to your crazy uncle who only watches Fox News speaks like Rush Limbaugh.

Find common ground by speaking American.


From the Ted Talks YouTube description 

Susan Strong – A maetro of words teaches courses on message founded The Metaphor Project and shares voices her idea on How Speaking American Can Help Save America.

http://www.metaphorproject.org/

“We all share the ideal American identity story; it’s who we are when we’re at our best.”

Susan C. Strong created The Metaphor Project, to help empower American “can do” solutions to our problems. She believes that we are still one big American Family, and that we can get back to working together again the way we used to do. For decades she’s been teaching people how to talk to each other in ways everyone can hear, both in college settings and in everyday projects. In “How Speaking American Can Help Save America” you’ll discover that There is a deeper American truth than the bitter disagreements our media report so much. There really is one big American Family out there, alive in our grass roots. And starting there, we can find our way back to a country that works again.

On Tax Day, Small Group Of Activists Explain Where Your Tax Dollars Are Going

Tax Day at Kelly Ayotte

On Tax Day, April 15th, a small group of activists took to the streets to inform citizens of how their government is spending their tax dollars.

Tax Day Flier 2015 IMAGE‘Activists affiliated with NH Citizens Alliance for Action, The American Friends Service Committee New Hampshire Program’s Governing Under the Influence project, and NH Peace Action stood outside Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office on Tax Day to draw attention to what they see as the Senators, “Misplaced Priorities”.

There is no denying that we as U.S. citizens are funding the worlds police force, aka the U.S. Department of Defense, with our tax dollars while nearly one-in-three children live in poverty.  The U.S. Government spends $640 billion dollars on the military and only spends $71 on education.  The government has lost sight of it’s priorities and duties to the people. We spend more on the military than the next eight highest spending countries combined.

Some of the reasons our government has lost sight of its true goals is because, lobbyists and military manufacturers are buying politicians.  Defense contractors are spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to win lucrative contracts manufacturing equipment that we may or may-not even need.

Tax Day Flier Backside 2015 CD2-IMAGEOne activist, Iraq War Veteran, and Director of NH Peace Action, Will Hopkins said, “Senator Ayotte received over $30,000 each from Raytheon, Honeywell, BAE, and Lockheed Martin, and it is their interests that she has served in Washington.  We are here on tax day because the Senator has shown that she is willing to support planes that don’t fly, and tanks that go straight to boneyards any time a campaign donor has a profit to make.”

Over $120,000 dollars just from defense contractors here in New England.  Every dollar spent on lobbying returns $720 in return.

The small group stood outside for two hours on Wednesday and handed out leaflets on the federal budget, and US military spending compared to the rest of the world.'(images on the right).

NH Democratic Party Memo to GOP Presidential Hopefuls

MEMO

To: GOP Presidential Hopefuls

From: New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley

Welcome to New Hampshire! We hope you enjoy your time here, but we want to warn you that you may find yourselves less than pleased with our inclusive, bipartisan policies that have made the Granite State a wonderful place to live.

Paycheck fairness

Just this past year, our governor, Governor Hassan, signed a bipartisan Paycheck Fairness Act, which will level the playing field for countless women across New Hampshire. Last Tuesday was equal pay day, and it was an especially proud day for New Hampshire this year.

Because you’re all pandering to the extreme right in your party, we imagine our new law makes you feel pretty uncomfortable. This is what we know about you and your take on equal pay:

  • Jeb Bush stated that he did not know what the Paycheck Fairness Act was when he was asked about it.

  • Chris Christie vetoed equal pay legislation calling it “senseless bureaucracy.”

  • Rick Perry vetoed an equal pay law and said focusing on the issue was “nonsense.”

  • Scott Walker repealed an equal pay law saying it was a “bogus issue.”

  • Marco Rubio said the Paycheck Fairness Act was about “scoring political points,” “wasting time,” and a “show vote.”  

  • Rand Paul compared the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Soviet Politburo.

Same-sex marriage

New Hampshire has been proud to allow same-sex couples to marry here since our marriage equality law passed in 2009. We know that the marriage equality in our state has made us stronger. But we also know that your stances on marriage equality are out of the mainstream and­ would move our country backwards. We find your views on same-sex marriage wrong, and in some cases, totally bizarre.

  • Jeb Bush not only opposes marriage equality, he even said a federal constitutional amendment preventing same-sex marriage was “the right thing”

  • Rand Paul doesn’t believe in the concept of gay rights, because, as he puts it, “I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior.”

  • Scott Walker has doubled down on his opposition to same-sex marriage and pledges to fight against the legalization of gay marriage.

  • Marco Rubio is opposed to same-sex marriage, helped raise money for an abusive “ex-gay therapy” organization, and has said that he thinks gay adoption is a social experiment.

  • Ted Cruz proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would keep gay marriage out of states that didn’t allow it

  • Chris Christie has said he is “not a fan” of same-sex marriage, and even vetoed same-sex marriage legislation in New Jersey hours after it was passed.

  • Bobby Jindal supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and held a prayer rally sponsored by a group that tied Hurricane Katrina to the rising approval of same-sex marriage.

  • Rick Perry supported a federal marriage amendment and compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

Anti-discrimination legislation

In New Hampshire we’re also proud to have legislation on the books – for about 20 years actually – that prevents discrimination against individuals based on who they love.

We imagine that might alarm you, based on the discriminatory stances you’ve taken:

  • Mike Pence of Indiana’s new law gives business owners the right to deny service to LGBT Americans.

  • Jeb Bush made his anti-LGBT stance clear when he voiced support for right to discriminate legislation that would give businesses the right to refuse services to LGBT people. His comments are a clear attack on the LGBT community and just go to show that he wants to turn back the clock on progress we have made.

  • Rand Paul thought that businesses should have the right to discriminate against gay Americans, arguing it should be left up to the “marketplace.”

  • Ted Cruz believes that the government should not force anyone to serve same-sex couples if it goes against their religion and even sponsored legislation that would give organizations a license to discriminate against same-sex couples.

  • Marco Rubio not only voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it would provide “special protections” for gay people, but he also believes businesses should be able to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Guaranteed access to contraception

Sixteen years ago, our state passed bipartisan legislation that requires contraception to be covered by a woman’s health insurance. This law means that we don’t discriminate against women, won’t take away their right to comprehensive health care, and even save them hundreds or thousands of dollars that they can now spend on education, groceries, child care – you name it. Sounds like many of you want to take away that right, though:

  • Just one month before the Supreme Court gave a woman’s boss the ability to take her birth control away from her in the Hobby Lobby decision, Jeb Bush praised companies, organizations, and individuals who would fight for the ability to take away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions

  • Chris Christie supported the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision shortly after refusing to comment on the case and said he wasn’t concerned about the impact the case would have on women. He also opposed requiring insurers to cover contraceptives for women.

  • Scott Walker refused to enforce a Wisconsin law that requires insurers to cover birth control.

  • Ted Cruz was a leading Hobby Lobby supporter in the U.S. Senate, and even stumped for the company on the U.S. Senate floor in support of their anti-women policies.

  • Rand Paul agreed with Hobby Lobby’s anti-woman policies and accused President Obama of using the government to attack the company.

  • Marco Rubio compared Hobby Lobby’s policy of taking away a woman’s access to health care to an “American Tradition”.

  • Bobby Jindal called contraception an “abortifacient”, expressing zero understanding of what contraception even is.

The “Fast Track” Bill For The Trans-Pacific Partnership Hit The Floor Of Congress Today, Labor Responds

It was only a matter of time until the multi-national corporations who helped fund the campaigns of many of the politician’s in Washington pushed for another trade agreement that will make them billions of dollars, and leave millions of American workers without a job.

Today the “Senate’s Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015” hit the Congressional floor. The deal was brokered by Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah), Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

The New York Times spelled it out pretty well:

“It would give Congress the power to vote on the more encompassing 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership once it is completed, but would deny lawmakers the chance to amend what would be the largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994, which President Bill Clinton pushed through Congress despite opposition from labor and other Democratic constituencies.”

President Obama has already said he will oppose the unions — who help him win two elections — and his fellow democrats to get this trade agreement passed.

Richard_Trumka“At a time when workers all over the country are standing up for higher wages, Congress is considering legislation that will speed through corporate-driven trade deals,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “For decades, we’ve seen how fast-tracked trade deals devastated our communities through lost jobs and eroded public services. We can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs. That’s why Congress must reject Fast Track (TPA-2015) and maintain its constitutional authority and leverage to improve the TPP and other trade deals.”

Trumka continued, “Trade deals have wide-ranging impacts and shouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors and then rubber-stamped. The current Trans-Pacific Partnership deal under discussion would cover 40 percent of the world’s GDP. A deal this big should be debated in a full and open manner like every other piece of legislation. Working people are showing tremendous courage standing up to the low-wage, corporate agenda. It’s time for politicians to do the same.”

Labor unions and progressive advocates have been calling for more transparency in this ginormous trade agreement. The White House has been negotiating this deal in secret, while assuring everyone that this will not be another NAFTA. The problem is that every time new information about the trade agreement is leaked, it shows exactly the opposite. More gifts to Wall Street and Corporations while the American people suffer.

“The proposed Fast Track bill fails all the tests that Senator Ron Wyden said were critical: Trade Adjustment Assistance, transparency, action to combat currency manipulation, real enforcement of environmental and worker standards, and procedures to enable Congress ‘to right the ship if trade negotiators get off course,’ as Wyden put it. Since this legislation requires a supermajority, or 60 votes, for the Senate to remove the TPP or any subsequent deal from Fast Track consideration, this provision is virtually meaningless,” wrote the Communication Workers of America in a statement late this afternoon.

Larry Cohen CWA“We need to put the brakes on Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority. Just like the TPP itself, there has been no transparency around Trade Promotion Authority. We’ve had the start of a Senate hearing even before a bill was finalized and introduced. Now, that legislation is headed to mark up and a floor vote in just days. Trade Promotion Authority pretends to be about trade, but in reality it is about protecting corporate profits above all else and defining our national security in terms of giving away our jobs, depressing our wages and then rewarding the responsible multinational corporations, often U.S. based, with guaranteed profits in the nations where they invest,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.

Leo W Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers union wrote in his weekly column about how “illegally subsidized steel” is coming into the United States and forcing more workers out on the streets. “American steel producers laid off thousands of workers in bedrock communities from Ohio and Illinois to Texas and Alabama. That’s in just the past three months.”

“NAFTA has led to the loss of 1 million American jobs,” said Senator Bernie Sanders on the floor of the US Senate in late February. “Since we signed NAFTA the United States has cumulative trade deficit of 8.8 trillion dollars. That is wealth that has left the U.S. and gone overseas.”

It is not just the manufacturing unions who are speaking out against the Fast Track and the TPP.

The UFCW supported the last major trade agreement with Korea because of its improved labor standards and potential to create 20,000 jobs in the meat sector. But in his op-ed, Perrone makes clear that this time is different.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement,” he writes. “It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.”

AFT President Weingarten  (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

AFT President Weingarten (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and an outspoken progressive also spoke out against the agreement.

“At a time when we need to be focused on creating and sustaining good jobs for American workers, fast track would undermine these efforts, leading to trade deals that hurt everyday working people and stack the deck in favor of corporations. And it would do this in a secretive way, with limited public and congressional oversight and no effective enforcement,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

She continued, “Our nation’s trade policy should help put us on a path toward lifting all Americans’ quality of life—ensuring rights for workers, protections for consumers and safeguards for the environments. That’s why we need a democratic and transparent trade process that offers a fair shake for American workers. This bill is over-reaching and will fail to keep working families and our economy strong.”

“We send our elected leaders to Washington to be our voice,” said AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson. “Under fast track, Congress will have no say in selecting our trade partners, negotiating trade terms, or debating and amending trade agreements. This bill panders to corporate profiteers, while ignoring the voices of everyday American workers, who are fighting to oppose it.”

Now we need everyone to stand up and put an end to this monumental race to the bottom.

10492525_10153211806206153_8036817465541163150_nUses your cell phone to text TPP to 877877 and you can be connected directly to your Congressman or Senators office to tell them to vote no on this legislation. Or call the Senate directly at 1-855-790-8815 and tell them that “Fast Track means bad trade deals that ship American jobs overseas.”

Then take part in a National Day of Action to Stop Fast Track this Saturday, April 18th. Click here to find an event near you.

The AFL-CIO has more information on the TPP and “Fast Track” legislation on their website.

4-15-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: The Budget 

The State budget is now in the hands of the Senate Finance committee. They have set up several meeting with agency heads (see below for the schedule).

There have been many news articles stating that the Senate has several goals when putting together the budget:

  • uphold previous commitments, including using dedicated money for its intended purpose,
  • protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens,
  • add money to the rainy day fund, and
  • improve the business climate, in part by reducing business taxes.


AFT-NH can agree with the first three goals, but as to the fourth we need to remember that by cutting business taxes there will be less revenue for the State. 

We know that in New Hampshire we have few revenue sources and we have a regressive tax system, meaning that citizens who have the least to spare pay the most. To read more on this click here. AFT-NH supports incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  All of this is vital to our shared economic success.

AFT-NH believes that the Senate should consider passing or including the following bills when putting their version of the budget together:

HOUSE BILL 634-FN-A;AN ACT
 relative to applying the interest and dividends tax to trusts, increasing exemptions, and extending the tax to capital gains; and relative to homeowners property tax relief.

Dramatic revenue shortfalls are having a devastating effect on funding for public services at the State and local levels. While our economy is now growing, the recent economic downturn, sometimes called the Great Recession, has limited our communities’ ability to provide the healthcare, schools, colleges, public safety and transportation that people take for granted in good years but that they increasingly rely on in bad times.

HB 634 will generate as much as $100 million in revenue each year once fully implemented, while providing approximately $25 million annually to cities and towns with the creation of a dedicated funding source for general revenue sharing. These are revenues which are much needed in New Hampshire. This revenue could also help to offset the increases in local property taxes that communities were forced to impose when the state no longer contributed its share to the NH retirement system for local government workers.

HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire can still avoid paying tax by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and our State loses millions every year in taxable corporate revenue.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “water’s edge” loophole and require companies not only to report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this remains true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

The Senate Education Committee will be holding public hearings on:

HB 491:  relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor. This bill would permit a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.  AFT-NH will continue to support and advocate for this bill to pass.

HB 323: relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program.

AFT-NH believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and align with curriculum rather than narrow it; that are developed through collaborative efforts, not picked off a shelf; that are focused on measuring growth and continuous development instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn; that rely on diverse, authentic and multiple indicators of student performance rather than filling in bubbles; and that provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools to improve, not just impose sanctions that undermine them.

Further, we believe that assessments designed to support teaching and learning must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing. Specifically, we call on the consortia currently developing assessments aligned to the standards to do their part in solving this by including the crucial voices of teachers in the development of these assessments. We know that collaboration with educators is necessary to ensure that high-quality instruction and content are given their proper emphasis.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook pageand clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!

You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.

Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

UPCOMING HEARINGS 

Wednesday, April 15

10 am House in Session

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Public Employee Labor Relations Board
9:30 a.m. Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food
10:00 a.m. Liquor Commission
10:30 a.m. Department of Corrections
11:30 a.m. University System
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Thursday, April 16

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 5, relative to transfers into the revenue stabilization reserve account,

Friday, April 17

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
11:00 a.m. Department of Justice
12:00 p.m. BREAK
1:00 p.m. Judicial Branch
2:00 p.m. Judicial Council
2:30 p.m. Department of Information Technology
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amendingthe budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting.

Tuesday, May 5

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

On Equal Pay Day, Granite Staters Reminded of Kelly Ayotte’s Opposition to Paycheck Fairness

The NH Paycheck Fairness Act Passed the State Senate Unanimously, Yet Ayotte Has Voted Four Times Against the Paycheck Fairness Act in Washington

Concord, N.H. – On Equal Pay Day, Granite Staters are reminded that despite the broad bipartisan support for the NH Paycheck Fairness Act (which passed unanimously in the State Senate), Kelly Ayotte has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times in Washington.

Equal Pay Day marks how many days into this year women have to work in order to earn the same amount that men earned last year.

“Last year, I was proud to see members of both parties come together to pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women can earn equal pay for equal work,” said former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan. “It’s clear that Kelly Ayotte is representing the interests of her party’s leadership in Washington, not the interests of the people of New Hampshire who overwhelmingly support equal pay legislation, regardless of party affiliation.”

Ayotte Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act Four Times. [Vote 82, 3/24/15; Vote 262, 9/15/14; Vote 103, 4/9/14; Vote 115, 6/5/12]

Organizations and Small Businesses Call on Governor to Reject Business Tax Cuts, Voice Concern for State Budget

More than 40 organizations, including 18 small businesses, sign letter urging Governor to reject business tax cuts   

Concord, NH – Representatives from New Hampshire’s small business, nonprofit, education and faith communities gathered in Concord today to speak against proposed business tax cuts. More than 40 organizations, including 18 small businesses, have signed a letter urging Governor Hassan to reject business tax cuts in upcoming or future budgets; the letter was delivered to the Governor’s office on Tuesday morning.

 

“The business tax cuts passed by the Senate earlier this year would drain nearly $28 million out of the upcoming state budget and reduce revenue by more $80 million each biennium once fully implemented, making it all but impossible to restore funding for local aid, services for the developmentally disabled, the state’s public colleges and universities, or a variety of other areas vital to New Hampshire’s high quality of life,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. 

 

At a press conference held at the Legislative Office Building, McLynch and representatives of several organizations and businesses who signed the letter to the Governor outlined concerns regarding the FY 2016-2017 state budget and proposals to cut business taxes at a time when the state cannot afford to fund critical needs. 

 

“Forty-one thousand school-age children in our state come from homes where there is an uncertainty of having enough food for all household members because of insufficient income or other resources,” said Scott McGilvray, president of NEA-New Hampshire. “Business tax cuts would endanger the public services on which these students and their families rely, and shift the burden for paying for such services directly onto the backs of those who need them most but can least afford them.”

 

As the version of the budget passed by the New Hampshire House illustrates, the state lacks adequate resources to meet the needs of its citizens, maintain vital infrastructure, and build an economy that works for everyone. The tax cuts proposed by the Senate will drain millions of dollars out of this and future budgets and leave the state further behind. More details pertaining to the fiscal impact of the SB 1 and SB 2 tax cuts are attached

 

“We know that substance misuse costs businesses more than $1 billion per year in lost worker productivity,” said Kate Frey, advocacy director for New Futures. “Can New Hampshire really afford costly business tax cuts at a time when revenues are already insufficient to meet critical needs such as substance abuse prevention treatment and recovery?” 

 

Promoted as means to create jobs and spur economic growth in the state, proposed business tax cuts would benefit primarily large corporations, offering little benefit to most small businesses.

 

“I calculated how much these proposals would save my company when they are fully implemented and it came to less than $150 per year,” said Tom Strickland, president and co-founder of Sequoya Technologies Group, a small IT company with eight employees based in Peterborough, NH. “$150 out of a million dollar budget isn’t going to influence my business decisions. I won’t be hiring new employees or buying new equipment as a result of this tax cut.”

 

Strickland moved his family to New Hampshire 18 years ago to start a business and raise a family, attracted by the state’s high quality of life. Strickland encouraged lawmakers to invest in things that businesses need but cannot do for themselves, such as high-quality schools, well-maintained roads, and high-speed broadband internet. 

 

Participants stressed that businesses and the state would be better served by investing business tax revenue in areas that benefit the state overall – a well-trained workforce, good schools and affordable higher education, safe infrastructure, and health and support services that increase employee productivity and reduce employer costs.

 

New Hampshire has enacted numerous business tax cuts since 2010. In its 2014 report, the New Hampshire Business Tax Study Commission concluded that business tax cuts were impractical at this time and ranked low on the list of business priorities. 

 

The Reverend Jonathan Hopkins of Concordia Lutheran Church, president of the board of directors for the New Hampshire Council of Churches, closed the press conference with the following remarks: “It is good business to care about our entire community, and it is the right thing to do. To give tax breaks to businesses while cutting services desperately needed by the most vulnerable in our state would be morally wrong, and fiscally foolish. I hope all people of conscience will stand with us and say that we need a budget that makes sense for all of the citizens of this great state.”

 

The full text of the letter to Governor Hassan and complete list of signatories is attached

 

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org

 

Stamp Your Money While You Eat Free Ice Cream!

2015-04-14 Free Cone DayToday, April 14th is “Free Cone Day” at Ben & Jerry’s nationwide.  At the 940 Elm Street location in Manchester, NH, ice cream lovers coming by for their free scoop between noon and 8:00 pm will also be able to Stamp their money and learn more about the Stamp Stampede.

StampStampede.org is tens of thousands of Americans supporting the movement to get money out of politics by legally stamping messages onto US currency.

Here in New Hampshire, more than 60 small businesses have already joined the Stampede and are hosting “stamping stations” where customers can stamp their currency and learn more about the issue.  Almost 1,000 Granite Staters are beautifying their bucks with messages like “Not to be Used for Bribing Politicians.”  Each stamped bill is seen by an estimated 875 people as it circulates through the local economy.

At the grassroots level, there is broad bipartisan support for overturning Citizens United and ending the influence of special interests. Four out of five New Hampshire Republicans think Congress is more interested in special interests than its constituents.  More than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters support a Constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.  So far, 68 of the state’s cities and towns have passed local resolutions asking for a Constitutional amendment.

The state Legislature is considering two measures about Citizens United.  The House passed a bipartisan measure calling for a Constitutional Convention.  The Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for an amendment and setting up a study committee to recommend which proposed amendment to support.  So far, 16 other states have called for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get special interest money out of politics.

The Stamp Stampede was founded by Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Free Cone Day & Stamp Your Money!
Tuesday, April 14th 12noon to 8:00 pm
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
940 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101

For other Ben & Jerry’s locations celebrating Free Cone Day, click here.

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The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

ICYMI: More Editorials Call on N.H. Senate to Pass a Bipartisan, Responsible Budget

 
Concord, N.H. – Editorials in the Concord Monitor and Valley News continued to put pressure on the New Hampshire Senate to work across party lines and pass a responsible budget that undoes drastic cuts to seniors, people with disabilities, efforts to combat substance misuse, and local property taxpayers.
 
Concord Monitor: Editorial: “State can’t afford price of budget cuts”
 
Over the next few months the Senate, a committee of conference and Gov. Hassan will pluck the spines off the cold-hearted toad of a budget passed by the House and shape into something that doesn’t boil the conscience and stab property owners in the wallet. At least we hope they will, otherwise the state’s seniors, people with a disability, their caregivers and county taxpayers will suffer.
 
… Taken together, the social service cuts would make it even harder for the vast majority of senior citizens in this graying state to do what they want to do – remain in their own homes for as long as possible and, ideally, to the end. More people will end up in a nursing home, exhaust their own resources sooner and wind up on Medicaid. That’s tragic for them, hard on their families and costly to taxpayers. Seniors who stay in their own homes spend down their resources, whether savings or the equity in their homes, much more slowly and require less help from taxpayers. Providing the services that help them do so makes economic and humanitarian sense.
 
… The cuts to social services in the House budget would downshift even more of the expense of caring for the elderly and disabled from the state and federal government to county taxpayers. Every voter should ask their state representative, if they voted for the budget, why they think that’s a good idea. [Full editorial]
 
Valley News: Editorial: “Don’t Just Rescue Opioid Addicts, Treat Them”
 
With New England in the grip of an opioid addiction crisis, much attention is being focused on naloxone, a relatively easy-to-administer drug that saves lives by reversing the deadly effects of breathing failure in people who have overdosed on heroin or prescription opioids. Remarkably, advocates say, all this is accomplished without producing major side effects other than withdrawal symptoms and without creating a high.
 
… Encouraging as all this is, though, we urge policy makers to ask themselves this question: After naloxone, then what? Preventing an addict from dying by overdose is wonderful, but it is not exactly the same thing as saving — or more precisely — salvaging his or her life. There’s no wonder drug for doing that, unless it’s money — money that needs to be invested in the hard work of supplying high quality, affordable and easily accessible drug treatment options at the local level and encouraging addicts to take advantage of those services.

… Given that the opioid crisis coincides with a budget crunch in both states, lawmakers will face some tough choices about how to provide adequate and sustainable funding for addiction treatment. Without that, though, naloxone is just a small Band-Aid being asked to staunch a hemorrhage. [Full editorial]
 
Concord Monitor: My Turn: Senate must restore sensibility, responsibility to state budget
(Richard Gulla is the president of SEA/SEIU 1984)
 
… At this point in the process, the Senate must formulate its version of a budget for consideration. We implore them to restore some of the services slashed by the House and provide the means for much needed revenue and reflect the type of state we envision: one where all New Hampshire residents may succeed, a place where the young can stay and thrive, where those in the middle of their lives can earn a good living to support and grow their families, and where the old can live in dignity.
 
I urge every New Hampshire resident to contact their state senator and demand that they develop a more compassionate and reasonable budget. Tell them that anything less is not right for our state. New Hampshire deserves better. [Full op-ed]

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