Senator Shaheen on Earth Day: We Must Act Immediately To Address Climate Change

Shaheen Portman Bill HEADER

At Roundtable Discussions, Shaheen Discuss Economic and Environmental Impact of Inaction with New Hampshire Leaders, Highlights Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Legislation to Save Billions, Create Jobs, Lower Pollution

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today called for immediate action to address the threat of climate change at two Earth Day roundtable discussions in New Hampshire. At both events, Shaheen specifically warned of the negative consequences inaction could have on New Hampshire’s environment and economy, particularly the state’s $9.3 billion tourism industry. Shaheen’s roundtable discussions with environmental leaders and stakeholders were held in both Durham and Concord.

“Earth Day provides a great reminder of the work we must do year round to address the threat of climate change,” Shaheen said. “The economic and environmental consequences of inaction are very real, particularly for New Hampshire’s tourism industry, and we simply can’t afford to ignore this problem.”

“We should act immediately on bipartisan plans to address this threat, starting with the energy efficiency legislation I’ve introduced with Senator Rob Portman,” Shaheen added. “Our bill will help create jobs, save people billions, and reduce pollution by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road – and I hope we can pass it in the coming weeks on behalf of our economy and environment.”

The Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act is bipartisan legislation that will reduce pollution, save consumers billions and create jobs. The legislation has thirteen bipartisan cosponsors and has been endorsed by industry leaders, energy-efficiency advocates and environmental stakeholders. A study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the Shaheen-Portman bill will create more than 190,000 jobs, save consumers $16.2 billion a year, and cut CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road – all by 2030. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed energy efficiency legislation with provisions that are also included in Shaheen’s bill.

New Hampshire Raise the Wage Coalition Calls on State Senators to Live on Minimum Wage for a Week

NH Senate Committee Hearing 
(Image from Arnie Alpert -- NH AFSC)

State Senators asked to walk a mile in shoes of constituents before casting vote on minimum wage bill

NH Senate Committee Hearing  (Image from Arnie Alpert -- NH AFSC)

NH Senate Committee Hearing
(Image from Arnie Alpert — NH AFSC)

CONCORD, NH – Several members of the New Hampshire Raise the Wage Coalition are calling for State Senators to live on minimum wage for one week before voting on whether to raise the state’s minimum wage. The request was made during the Senate Finance committee public hearing on HB 1403 today, and echoed in an email sent to all State Senators shortly after the public hearing ended.

HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two stages and provide for annual cost of living increases in the future.  It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.  Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index. Raising the wage would directly impact 48,000 workers and another 28,000 would experience an indirect increase, ultimately benefiting 76,000 New Hampshire workers and the overall economy in the state.

Organizations calling on the State Senate to live a week on minimum wage include Granite State Progress, NEA-New Hampshire, NH Citizens Alliance, Every Child Matters, and the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ – Economic Justice Ministry Team. All of the groups are members of the New Hampshire Raise the Wage coalition.

“The average minimum wage earner in New Hampshire is an adult earning less than $300 a week,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “These are people with real breadwinner responsibilities trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. We are calling on our State Senators to better understand the plight of these Granite State families by spending a week living in their shoes. They will find out what it’s really like to plan a budget, buy groceries, find a place to live and manage transportation in New Hampshire on under $300 a week.”

“There are lots of facts and figures tossed around when politicians debate an issue. The Minimum Wage Challenge will make sure this discussion is grounded in the real-life choices confronted by tens of thousands of Granite State workers who are trying to get by on just $7.25 an hour,” Rice Hawkins said.

Organizations issuing the call have offered State Senators who participate an opportunity to meet with local advocates to review housing options and visit the grocery store together, among other things. Press interested in these activities can contact Granite State Progress.

Senate Finance Committee Considers Increase to Minimum Wage (Via NHFPI)


CONCORD, NH – The Senate Finance Committee today considered legislation that would increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, which currently rests at the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. HB 1403 would increase the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour over two years and make automatic cost of living adjustments in future years.

New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch provided testimony in support of the bill and issued the following statement:

“One of the values that we as Americans – and as Granite Staters – hold most dear is the value of work. Few would dispute that if you work for a living, you ought to be able to secure life’s basic necessities for yourself and for your family. Yet, far too many of New Hampshire’s workers are struggling just to get by.

“HB 1403 would significantly ease that struggle and provide for a modest, gradual, and sustained increase in New Hampshire’s minimum wage. It would raise the wages of nearly 76,000 Granite Staters and help to boost to the bottom line of local businesses, since low-wage workers, out of sheer necessity, will spend those higher wages in local supermarkets, shops, and gas stations.

“New Hampshire should reinstate its own minimum wage, and raise the wage to a level that enables its citizens to afford basic necessities.”

For additional information, see NHFPI’s Issue Brief, Long Since Due: An Increase in New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage, available at:

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) is an independent, 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.


Governor Hassan Urges Senate Finance Committee to Restore and Increase New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage 101

Minimum Wage 101CONCORD – Emphasizing the need to strengthen the economic security of New Hampshire’s working families, Governor Maggie Hassan today submitted a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in support of HB 1403, legislation that will restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage.

“Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Individuals working full-time in New Hampshire should be able to earn enough to pull themselves above the federal-poverty threshold and support their families.”

In 2011, the Legislature passed legislation repealing New Hampshire’s minimum wage law. Now determined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the minimum wage in New Hampshire is the lowest in New England.

“Truly accelerating our economic growth will only be possible when working families and individuals are confident in their own financial circumstances and able to purchase more goods and services,” Governor Hassan concluded. “By restoring and increasing this important protection, we can improve the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters.”


Governor Hassan’s full letter to the Senate Finance Committee is below: 

Senator Jeanie Forrester, Chairman
Senate Finance Committee
Room 103
State House, Concord 

Dear Madam Chair and Members of the Committee: 

I write to you today in support of HB 1403, a bill that will strengthen the economic security of New Hampshire’s working families by restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage. As you know, New Hampshire’s minimum wage was last increased six years ago in 2008, and in 2011, the Legislature repealed the state minimum wage law altogether.  

Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state. Individuals working full-time in New Hampshire should be able to earn enough to pull themselves above the federal-poverty threshold and support their families.

Truly accelerating our economic growth will only be possible when working families and individuals are confident in their own financial circumstances and able to purchase more goods and services. New Hampshire’s minimum wage will remain the lowest in New England even if HB 1403 is enacted, but by restoring and increasing this important protection, we can improve the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters.

Thank you for your consideration of this important legislation.

With every good wish, 

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor of New Hampshire

How One Profitable Company Took Home A Tax Refund Equal To All Of The SNAP Benefit Cuts

Taxes Cartoon

Taxes Cartoon

Last year the Republicans in the House pushed to cuts the SNAP program by $5 billion dollars over the next ten years.  These draconian cuts reduced benefits to millions of hungry children.   The GOP claims we need to balance the budget and they refuse to make changes to the tax rates, which would lead to higher revenues.  “NO NEW TAXES!” Republicans across the country have vowed, even signed pledges, not to raise taxes or create any new taxes.   Because the Republicans are unwilling to make changes to our tax system, they insist on making cuts to programs like SNAP, to balance our budget.

Our taxes help to pay for everything from the town snowplow driver to the roads we drive on.  They pay for the schools and the teachers who educate our children.  They pay for the police officers and firefighters who keep us safe, day and night.  That is what our taxes pay for.  Taxes are the financial foundation that our community is based on.

Nationally our taxes pay for so many things that it would take 1000 pages just to list them all.  The US Government helps to fund businesses large and small, research to make our lives better, and programs designed to keep people out of poverty.  Again our taxes are there to create a better society to live in.

Think about what America would look like if we did not pay taxes?  How would we get from place to place without roads? Or airports? It is truly scary to think about.

This explains why people become so outraged when politicians make drastic cuts to social assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

What if there was a way that we could reverse the cuts to SNAP, reduce our national debt, and build a better community all at the same time, all without creating new taxes.  Would you be in favor of that?  I know that I would.

The answer is a simple as making sure that everyone is paying their fair share of the taxes. It all comes from closing the loopholes in the tax code that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share.

For example, from 2008-2013 General Electric made $33 billion dollars in profits and received a tax rebate.  GE received $2.9 billion dollars in federal tax refunds in the last 5 years.   If this continues the federal government will give GE over $5.8 billion dollars in tax refunds over a ten-year period.  That is $800 million dollars more that all of the SNAP cuts in the same ten years.

How is that even possible? How does a highly profitable company get a tax refund of billions of dollars?  Due to loopholes and the offshoring of profits, GE effectively got their tax rate to -9%, hence the refund.  Last year my effective tax rate was 18% and I did not make $100 million dollars.

The worst part is GE is not alone in this atrocity.  Boeing, Verizon, Bank of America, Citigroup all made billions in profits and had effective tax rates so low, they did not have to pay taxes, they received a refund.  In fact Boeing (-2% tax rate) and Verizon (-2% tax rate) alone collected over $1.2 billion dollars in tax refunds over the last five years.

The list goes on. Pfizer pharmaceuticals, who are quickly becoming the master of offshoring profits, made $43 billion between 2010-2012, and received a $2.2 billion dollar refund. FedEx made $2.7 billion dollars in profits in 2011 received a refund of $135 million dollars.  Honeywell made $3 billion and received $510 million in refunds.

That is an extra $4 billion in tax refunds to corporations who are exporting jobs, and raking in massive amounts of profits.  This does not even include the trillions of dollars given to Citigroup and Bank of America during the “Wall Street bailout.”

The same corporations that are reaping huge rewards from the US Government are pushing to further destroy our social safety net.  Many of the CEO’s are calling for deeper cuts to Social Security and other programs.  They are also pushing to raise the eligibility age requirement for Medicare and Social Security.

We could restore all the cuts to SNAP program and put billions towards the deficit, just by making sure that these corporations are just paying their fair share.  Our communities are staving for funds and a handful of corporations are walking away with billions of our tax dollars.



For more information on the Top 10 worst tax avoiders click here.

AFL-CIO Releases Recommendations on Administrative Action on Immigration

Image by Just Seeds Artists’ Cooperative

(Washington, DC, April 21, 2014) -  Since April 17, 2013, the AFL-CIO has joined its vigorous support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a call on the administration to cease needless deportations. Today, the AFL-CIO issues a detailed policy statement that fleshes out the pro-worker case for the Department of Homeland Security to stop the deportation crisis.

The highlights of the AFL-CIO’s three policy recommendations are as follows:

  1. DHS should grant affirmative relief with work authorization to individuals who are low priorities for removal or eligible for prosecutorial discretion under existing DHS policies. This would stop employers from “playing the deportation card” that pits workers against each other.
  2. DHS should reassert the primary role of the federal government in determining and implementing enforcement priorities by ending programs that effectively delegate those responsibilities to state and local law enforcement.
  3. DHS should reform the enforcement and removal system to stop criminalizing immigrant communities and ensure that individuals who are low priorities for removal or eligible for prosecutorial discretion are not removed.

The policy statement, which can be found at not only offers recommendations but provides the legal foundation for our continuing call to push the Administration to take broad executive action to relieve the ongoing deportation crisis for millions of workers.

4-21-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Retirement, Oral Health Care, and Finishing Up The Session

AFT NH Legislative Update

Overall it was a quite week at the State House. Both chambers have till May 15th to act on all remaining bills. All committees are working their way through them.

The full House will be voting on SB193: Expanding Access to Oral Health Care in NH. The House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee recommended Ought to Pass as amended. AFT-NH is in support of the recommendation and asks that it be supported on Wednesday, April 23rd.  This bill forms a Study Commission that would examine barriers to oral health care for under-served NH residents. We believe this study will help build the case that addressing the dental workforce must be part of any long-term strategy to bridge the gaps in our system of oral care access.

This Commission presents an opportunity for partners to educate the Legislature and the public about how a Dental Hygiene Practitioner would help address these needs. To read more click here.

The full Senate will be voting on HB 1494:  relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended Ought to Pass as amended This bill is on the consent calendar and will be voted on this coming Thursday, April 24th .  AFT-NH is in support of this recommendation.

  • This amended bill (1) adds definitions of terms used in RSA 100-A and clarifies existing definitions; (2) revises the procedure for calculating the cost of purchasing credit for certain types of prior service; (3) clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan; (4) corrects an inconsistency in the statute regarding the approval date of the comprehensive annual financial report; (5) adds penalties for employers who fail to remit correct data in a timely manner; and (6) repeals obsolete provisions.
  • Senator Soucy successfully amended the bill to address our concerns. The amendment eliminated a study committee, a suggestion of the NHRS which we opposed as there is no data collected yet to study. The amendment also changed the following paragraph in section 8 of the bill:
  •  ”(a) Every employer shall report to the retirement system monthly, in a format provided by the retirement system, all compensation paid by the employer to retired members of the retirement system, including the name of, and the total hours worked, for each retired member of the retirement system, except that an employer shall not include in the report the compensation and hours worked by a retiree for serving as an elected state official or as an elected official of a political subdivision.”

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
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CHARTER SCHOOLS AND OPEN ENROLLMENT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 194-B:21), Room 100, State House 11:30 a.m. Regular meeting. Presentation by Paul Leather, Deputy Commission Department of Education on HB 435


9:30 a.m. HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.
9:45 a.m. HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.
10:15 a.m. HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on:
-SB 343, (New Title) relative to the duties of the statewide education improvement and assessment program legislative oversight committee and repealing the school administrative unit legislative oversight committee,
-SB 348, establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in elementary and secondary schools,
-SB 350, (New Title) relative to the transfer of adequacy aid calculation data from the department of education to the department of revenue administration,
-SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions,
-SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s individualized education program.

1:15 p.m. Rescheduled Presentation by the Department of Education: Perspectives on Accountability and Assessment

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:15 a.m. Executive session on
-SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to reporting by political committees,

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Continued executive session on
-SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.


10:00 a.m. House in Session


10:00 a.m. Senate in Session


House FISCAL COMMITTEE (RSA 14:30-a), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Audits: 1) State of New Hampshire Management Letter year ended June 30, 2013.
2) State of New Hampshire Single Audit of Federal Financial Assistance Programs for the year ended June 30, 2013.


Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:30 a.m. HB 1198, relative to the procedure for filing a child in need of services (CHINS)petition and relative to the definition of sexual abuse under the child protection act.



11:00 a.m. Executive session on
-SB 307, establishing a committee to review Citizens United amendments to the United States Constitution.


10:00 a.m. Ad Hoc subcommittee on retirement.

How Are BAIN Capital, The Staples CEO, and The USPS All Connected?

Image from the Muskegon Chronicle

Senator Bernie Sanders told me and other union members last weekend that if conservative ideologues get control of our government, then the Postal Service would be privatized in five minutes. This privatization will put all postal employees’ jobs/retirements in peril and eliminate our country’s most trusted government service that millions of people depend on. It seems like the USPS – Staples partnership may be the first step toward that outcome.

The agreement between the USPS and Staples established postal counters in 82 Staples stores that will be staffed with low-wage, non-union Staples employees. Eventually these knock-off postal centers could be located in all 1580 Staples locations.

“We support the expansion of customer access to USPS services, but we insist that postal work must be performed by uniformed postal workers who have passed a background check, taken an oath of office and are accountable to the people,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

This USPS-Staples partnership seems like a dream scenario for the Koch Brothers and their political puppets. Shifting good solid union middle class jobs to a company that pays its workers about $9 an hour is exactly how America’s corporate elite plan to profit from dismantling our Postal Service.

Why Staples CEO Ronald Sargent — who over the last 6 years has averaged $15 million a year in pay — does not pay his sales associates and cashiers more than their $8.64 hourly wage is outrageous to anyone who believes in economic fairness. Considering Staples management roots come from Mitt Romney and Bain Capital this type of behavior shouldn’t be surprising.  It’s also not surprising that Staples employees are required to watch an anti-union video message from Staples when hired.

Ronald Sargent is clearly no friend of working people, or taxpayers for that matter. Sargent has been a long time Board of Directors Member for Aramark, one of the most of the most anti-worker companies in the country.  Aramark’s newest frontier is privatizing state prison food services.  It’s had some disastrous results like prison riots in Kentucky over its terrible product or across the river in Ohio where Aramark  billed the state for 1.7 million meals it never served.  Aramark seems to be a company that symbolizes everything that is wrong with this era of Crony Capitalism. Its RAP sheet of defrauding states and abusing workers is stunning.

Mr. Sargent is the perfect liaison to start the dismantling of the Postal Service. He is close to Romney (contributed tens of thousands of dollars to him) and the privatizers on the political side — and has experience in overseeing the privatization of public services on the business side.

History has shown that Ben Franklin founded the world’s best Postal Service and it united our country both in commerce and in spirit.

Will history also show that Ronald Sargent, the ultimate Crony Capitalist, is the first to profit from its dismantling?

Please join the Postal Workers on Thursday April 24, from 4-6 pm in Concord NH for a peaceful demonstration near the Concord Staples on Fort Eddy Road (across from LL Bean at exit 14 off of 93 N). Help us STOP the privatization & destruction of the U.S.P.S. before it’s too late.

More details here


Current Wages, An American Dream Or A Nightmare

poor child poverty hunger

Every day millions of Americans wake up and go to work.  They are always chasing their own version of the American Dream:  that long-held ideal that if you work hard enough and long enough you can succeed.

For many, this dream is having the financial security to own that suburban house with the white picket fence.  Two little kids and the dog running through the back yard, while mom and dad are prepping for a barbeque dinner on the patio.

This Norman Rockwell vision of the American family has pushed people to always try harder, and to do whatever it takes to reach the ultimate goal of financial security.

Sadly for many Granite Staters, every day they go to work that dream is turning into a nightmare.  They slave at work for hours on end, while their paychecks are being stretched thinner and thinner.  Every day is a struggle to pay their bills and they are constantly falling further and further behind.  A $15,000 a year salary does not go very far when you have family.

Nobody who has tried to live on a minimum wage income would ever say that these people are lazy.  Just surviving on a minimum wage income is hard work.

Low-wage workers are not “just teenagers” as some may imply; they are adults. 70% who will benefit from minimum wage increase in NH are over the age of 20, 36% of them are over the age of 30, and over 14% of them have at least one child. Many of them work two or three jobs just so their children do not have to go to bed hungry, every night.  Unfortunately going to bed hungry is a stark reality for too many children.

We are the richest nation in the world, yet we have children in our own country who are literally starving.  How is this even possible?  I do not have the answer to this question, but I know that we can do something about it.

Raising the minimum wage is a simple and effective solution to help millions of working families.  States across the country have pushed legislation to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour, to $9.00 an hour. Some cities have even gone as high as $15.00 per hour.

When you are living in poverty, every penny matters.   For the 75,000 Granite Staters who would be helped by an increase in the minimum wage, an increase to $9.00 would add $300 a month to their take home pay.  I guarantee you that every dollar of that additional $300 would be spent right here in our local shops and businesses.  If you are struggling to pay your bills today, there is not much saving for tomorrow.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire would add an additional $64 million to our local economy over the two years.

This is a political slam-dunk.  It is good for the 75,000 people who are living in poverty and trying every day to just survive.  It is good for our economy, because when low-income workers have money, they will spend it.  It is good politics, seeing that over 70% of Granite Staters support raising the minimum wage.

People do not want a hand out, they want to earn what they bring home.  They want to work for an honest pay that actually will pay the bills.  That is the real American Dream, and by raising the minimum wage, we can make that dream a reality.

*    *    *

If you are interested we will be holding a “lobby day” at the NH State House on Tuesday April 22nd.  Details here 

USPS Workers To Rally Against Postal Units In Staples Stores On 4-24-14



Please join the Postal Workers on Thursday April 24, from 4-6 pm in Concord NH for a peaceful demonstration near the Concord Staples on Fort Eddy Road (across from LL Bean at exit 14 off of 93 N). Help us to STOP the privatization & destruction of The U.S.P.S. before it’s too late. 

A recent agreement between the USPS and Staples established postal counters in 82 Staples stores — staffed with low-wage, non-union Staples employees rather than postal workers. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and Staples CEO Ron Sargent plan to expand the program to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide.

We fully support the expansion of postal services, but we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail. This is nothing less than a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services.

For more information call Janice at 513-8176 or Dana at 669-2414.

You can also join the Facebook Event and share the details through Facebook!

picket flyer