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Granite State Progress Statement on NH House Voting Down HB 404, Ballot Selfies

 Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House voted inexpedient to legislate 233-131 today on HB 404, relative to showing a ballot. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins

“Granite State Progress congratulates the New Hampshire House on this strong vote in favor of voter protection. HB 404 would have opened a slippery slope to voter intimidation and harassment, as well as social pressure to vote for a particular candidate or cause. New Hampshire’s current law protects an individual’s right to vote for the candidate or issue they feel most strongly about, without feeling accountable to anyone else. There are already several other ways for a voter to publicly show their support for a candidate – they can attend rallies, sign petitions, hold signs, distribute information, and publicly declare their intent to vote for or state that they actually did cast a ballot for a particular candidate. All New Hampshire’s law does is protect the privacy and secrecy of an individual’s actual vote by making it illegal to show or distribute pictures of one’s actual ballot.”

“This is not a freedom of speech issue as some may try to suggest as there are limitless other ways to demonstrate support for a candidate. There is one – and only one – thing that ballot selfies provide that other forms of democratic expression do not, and that is proof of your vote. New Hampshire should not endorse methods of proving who you voted for to others, and the House made the right decision with this vote.”

A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to HB 404 can be found online at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-release/statement-nh-house-voting-down-hb-404-ballot-selfies. It includes seemingly innocent examples of social pressure that could unfortunately harm the democratic process if ballot selfies were allowed.

About GSP and voter protection: Granite State Progress and its sister organization Granite State Progress Education Fund provide several forms of voter education and voter protection in New Hampshire – including publishing easy to access and understandable vote records of state legislators, hosting a website with information on how to register and rights at the polls, and manning a voter protection hotline on Election Day. Granite State Progress opposed both HB 404 and similar legislation HB 228, which will have a floor vote later today.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online atwww.GraniteStateProgress.org.


Take Action To Message Your NH State Senator Voicing Your Opposition To Right To Work

It hasn’t even been a year!

The SENATE COMMERCE Committee made the recommendation of ought to pass on SB 107-FN: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union by a vote of 3 to 2. It now moves to the full Senate on March 3, 2015.

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. These Senators need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle-class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Thank you for taking action!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Kuster Urges House Leadership to Develop and Pass Long-Term Surface Transportation Bill

(July, 2014)

(July, 2014)

A long-term bill would provide the certainty needed to support infrastructure investment and economic growth across the country

Washington, DC – In a letter to House leadership, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined more than 100 Republican and Democratic colleagues in urging support for a long-term surface transportation bill. In the last decade, Congress has passed nine short-term extensions of highway and transit programs – including the current extension slated to expire in May—leading to uncertainty for local transportation departments and impeding economic growth around the nation. In the letter, Kuster calls on House leadership to bring forward a multi-year surface transportation bill that would put an end to this uncertainty.

“Our country needs robust transportation infrastructure to compete in the global economy, and American businesses rely heavily on our network of roads and bridges to move the products that make us competitive around the world,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions of highway and transit programs, and pass a multi-year, long-term bill that will allow us to fix our failing roads and bridges, create reliable construction jobs for our workers, and help our economy grow. I was proud to join this bipartisan letter, and I call on House leadership to bring such a bill to the floor.”

In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) to fund our country’s surface transportation network, and it has since been extended beyond its original 2014 expiration. The last true long-term transportation bill, passed in 2005, was extended nine times before the enactment of MAP-21.  Short-term extensions do not provide the certainty local departments of transportation need when planning and undertaking significant, often long-term construction projects, and these projects and the construction jobs that go along with them are jeopardized by each threat of a funding lapse.

MAP-21 is slated to expire on May 31, 2015. Congresswoman Kuster is strongly advocating in favor of a fully paid-for, long-term funding bill to put an end to the uncertainty and help our nation begin to repair its aging infrastructure, support local construction workers, and spur much-needed economic growth throughout our nation.

Kuster has long advocated for increased federal investment in New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure. Last year when short-term funding threatened to run out, Kuster introduced the DRIVE Now Act, legislation that would have replenished the Highway Trust fund through the summer construction season to allow Congress time to pass a full, six-year reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund and other Surface Reauthorization programs. She has also toured the I-93 construction project in Windham and the Route 10 bridge replacement project in Winchester, two projects that could have been threatened by lack of transportation funding, in order to highlight the urgent need to pass responsible funding legislation.

The text of the letter sent by Kuster and her colleagues is below:

Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:

Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have consistently recognized the importance of a well-functioning and efficient surface transportation network in the United States.  We know that our country needs robust transportation infrastructure to compete in the global economy and that without such a network, the United States will be less able to realize future economic growth.

Very simply, we support transportation and infrastructure investment because our economy needs a national system to safely move people and deliver goods from place to place.  Our constituents in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and distribution sectors rely heavily on our network of roads and bridges to move the products that make us competitive around the globe.

We were pleased that Congress was able to enact the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, but we are more troubled by the significant uncertainty that has plagued federal highway and transit policy in recent years.  In the last decade, there have been nine short-term extensions of highway and transit programs.  This kind of uncertainty impedes economic growth and makes it difficult for our country to fulfill its competitive potential.

The current extension of the Highway Trust Fund is slated to expire on May 31, 2015.  This is not a long way off.  We are united in our conviction that now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions that kick the can down the road by doing the work needed to pass a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.  To make this happen, we support efforts to develop a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation’s transportation network as soon as possible.  Otherwise, we will not be able to enact a transportation bill that truly meets our country’s economic and infrastructure needs.

We respectfully urge you to move a responsibly paid-for multi-year surface transportation bill that will support much needed economic growth throughout our nation.  We stand ready to work with you on this endeavor in the coming months.

AFT-NH Testimony On HB 551 A Bill To Prevent Diversion Of Business Income To Tax Havens

aft sqaureLaura Hainey, President of the New Hampshire American Federation of Teachers (AFT-NH), spoke out in favor of HB 551, a bill to “prevent diversion of business income to tax havens.”  Read her official testimony submitted to the Ways and Means Committee.

Dear House Ways and Means Committee Members:

AFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

AFT-NH asks that your support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limit’s companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, 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 state loss millions every year in taxable corporate revenue. Here in New Hampshire a study by the U.S Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) estimated that we had a revenue loss of $98 million in 2011.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “waters edge” loophole and require companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. This bill HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens does just that. Montana and Oregon have enacted legislation to treat a proportionate share of the income that corporation’s book to know tax havens as domestic income and have collected millions in additional tax revenue. The US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

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.

In closing please support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

FACT CHECK: Senate GOP’s False Excuses for Voting to Kill Bill to Ensure Balanced FY 2015

Concord, N.H. – After voting to kill SB 233, a fiscally responsible bill to help ensure the state ends FY 2015 with a balanced budget, Jeanie Forrester and Chuck Morse issued false statements underscoring that they’ve lost all credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

See below for a complete fact check of the false statements from Jeanie Forrester and Chuck Morse.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) issued the following statement on the Committee voting down the Governor’s request for budget cuts from the Legislative and Judicial Branches:

Forrester’s Claim: “For almost a year, I have been asking Governor Hassan to share with the Legislature information on the spending problems within New Hampshire agencies.”

Fact: Taking aside the numerous briefings from Governor Hassan and her administration to the Legislative Fiscal Committee, Forrester could’ve simply checked TransparentNH for monthly spending data by agency.

Forrester’s Claim: With revenues running ahead of projections, it was essential that we address spending proactively. Instead, the Governor kept the problem to herself, tried to blame it on revenues even as they exceeded our targets, and finally came forward with this package of cuts to branches that are controlling their spending.”

Fact: Forrester can’t possibly write with a straight face that Senate Republicans are “controlling their spending” after they massively overspent the Senate’s operations budget.

And the Governor has repeatedly highlighted budget challenges (dating back to last spring), including troubling trends with business and I&D revenues and increased caseloads at DHHS (mostly representing more children getting on traditional Medicaid due to a change in federal law). Beginning last spring, the Governor took preventive and preemptive action including, among other actions, instructing agencies to halt equipment purchasing. Right after, Senate Republicans went on a shopping spree for new office furniture.

Forrester’s Claim: “The Governor would have raided dedicated funds and taken money from branches that are living within their budgets, yet would barely scratch the surface of the $58 million overspending problem. As such, the Finance Committee voted down this bill.”

Fact: Again, Forrester’s statement that Senate Republicans are “living within their budgets” is beyond laughable.

Additionally, the dedicated funds mentioned in the bill are transferring dollars from one fund at the Department of Safety to another fund at the Department of Safety to address a shortfall in plea by mail revenue. This measure is necessary to fund state police detectives and the state crime lab.

Not to mention that Forrester’s claim of a “$58 million overspending problem” is simply not true. That number is an estimation representing all potential liabilities, including the large back-of-the-budget cuts to DHHS that Forrester and her Senate GOP colleagues insisted upon. As Forrester knows, all agency spending has been approved by the legislature (whether through the budget, Fiscal Committee, or other legislation).

Despite these challenges, the Governor has worked with department heads to make the tough decisions to maintain a balanced budget, including issuing an executive order that cut $18 million from state agencies and working with DHHS to submit a plan to end FY15 with a balanced budget.

Meanwhile, Forrester’s Finance Committee voted to kill a bill that would help ensure a balanced FY15 budget because it would require the legislature to make cuts to its own budget. (You can listen to the full hearing here).

Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) added the following statement:

Morse’s Claim: “The Legislature continues to manage its budget, and it is now time for the Governor to manage her state agencies spending problems.”

Fact: Governor Hassan has worked with department heads to carefully manage state expenditures, and state agencies beat their savings reduction targets last year by $8.5 million. Given additional challenges – including more children getting on regular Medicaid due to a change in federal law and back-of-the-budget cuts insisted on by Senate Republicans – the Governor has worked with department heads to make the tough decisions to maintain a balanced budget, including issuing an executive order that cut $18 million from state agencies and working with DHHS to submit a plan to end FY15 with a balanced budget.

When asked why the Senate overspent its operations budget and wildly missed its own budget targets, Senator Morse replied, “I had a lot on my plate last year.”

Morse’s Claim: She needs to stop raiding dedicated funds and trying to take money away from other branches of government that are meeting their Constitutional obligation to live within their means.”

Fact: Again, see here: “when it came to returning unspent money to the treasury, it was the State Senate that seemed to spend like there was no tomorrow.”

(Written by the NHDP)

Laura Hainey (AFT-NH): Right To Work Weakens Collective Bargaining And Hurts All Workers


I am here today to ask that you defeat HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

aft sqaureAFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

Keep in mind, a union cannot unilaterally require nonmembers to pay their fair share. The employer and the union must negotiate and agree that workers are required to pay their fair share for representation.

Right now, either private or public employers and employees can freely negotiate to make sure everyone who benefits from a union contract pays their fair share of the costs of obtaining and protecting those benefits. But a “Right To Work” (RTW) law would allow the government to interfere unfairly in the freedoms of private and public employers and restrict the right to negotiate with their employees. Employers should be free to negotiate contracts without government intrusion.

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a RTW bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that RTW legislation creates more jobs, presumably because a state becomes more attractive to employers when unions are not present or are weakened. The research does not support this point of view.

The so called RTW proposal hurts everyone. By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called RTW laws. Wages are lower, poverty and lack of insurance are higher, education is weaker—even infant mortality and the likelihood of being killed on the job are higher.

Lower Wages and Incomes

  • The average worker in states with RTW laws makes $1,540 a year less when all other factors are removed than workers in other states.1
  • Median household income in states with these laws is $6,437 less than in other states ($46,402 vs. $52,839).2
  • In states with RTW laws, 26.7 percent of jobs are in low-wage occupations, compared with 19.5 percent of jobs in other states.3

Less Job-Based Health Insurance Coverage

  • People in states with RTW laws are more likely to be uninsured (16.8 percent, compared with 13.1 percent overall; among children, it’s 10.8 percent vs. 7.5 percent).4
  • They’re less likely to have job-based health insurance than people in other states (56.2 percent, compared with 60.1 percent).5
  • Only 50.7 percent of employers in states with these laws offer insurance coverage to their employees, compared with 55.2 percent in other states. That difference is even more significant among small employers (with fewer than 50 workers)—only 34.4 percent of them offer workers health insurance, compared with 41.7 percent of small employers in other states.6

Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates

  • Poverty rates are higher in states with RTW laws (15.3 percent overall and 21.5 percent for children), compared with poverty rates of 13.1 percent overall and 18.1 percent for children in states without these laws.7
  • The infant mortality rate is 15 percent higher in states with these laws.8
  • Less Investment in Education
  • States with RTW laws spend $3,392 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states, and students are less likely to be performing at their appropriate grade level in math and reading.9

Higher Rates of Death on the Job

  • The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in states with these laws, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.10

In closing, industries locate in a state for many reasons, but RTW laws are not among them. Factors like workforce productivity, availability of skilled workers, transportation, closeness to markets and materials, quality of life and proximity to research universities are the keys to economic growth. We need to create good jobs throughout the state, but an RTW law will not persuade companies to move here.

Please recommend ITL on HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President


1 Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-michigan-economy/.

2 U.S. Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State, www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/2010/H08_2010.xls.

3 CFED, Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/low-wage-jobs.

4 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Census Bureau, POV46: Poverty Status by State: 2010, related children under 18, www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/pov/new46_100125_04.htm;

Table 19. Percent of Persons in Poverty, by State: 2008, 2009 and 2010, www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/hstpov19.xls.

8 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

9 National Education Association, Rankings & Estimates–Rankings of the States 2011 and Estimates of School Statistics 2012, December 2011, www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates_FINAL_20120209.pdf ;

CFED, Asset & Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/math-proficiency-8th-grade , and http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/reading-proficiency-8th-grade .

10 AFL-CIO, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, April 2012, www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report .

Dexter Arnold (UAW) Testimony HB 402: Right To Work Is Just Bad Public Policy

Dexter Arnold

Dexter Arnold

Testimony in Opposition to HB 402
Dexter Arnold February 17, 2015

I live in Nashua. I am a member of UAW Local 1981, and I strongly oppose HB 402. HB402 is bad public policy that flunks a truth in advertising test. This bill is not about individual rights, which are already well protected. This bill’s sole purpose is to weaken New Hampshire workers’ ability to have a say over their jobs and working conditions. It is improper state interference with the collective bargaining process.

More than ninety years ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former President and conservative Republican, who was no friend of unions, stated that “a single employee was helpless in dealing with an employer.” That’s the key issue at stake in this bill. By requiring a state-mandated open shop, HB 402 targets the core of what unionism is all about – that together, workers are able to do accomplish things that they can’t do as individuals

I want to talk briefly from personal and family experience. My father and grandfather were New Hampshire natives. They were lifelong Republicans. And they were local union presidents. Their union responsibilities were in addition to their fulltime jobs as a printer and a machinist. They understood that unions are a way that workers can accomplish together what they cannot do as individuals. That’s why they got together with others to organize their local unions in Nashua. They believed in personal responsibility and did not confuse individual liberty with demanding a free ride on someone else’s back. They certainly would have felt that it was inappropriate to make free rides state policy.

I also want to make a point based on my own experience as vice president and grievance chair in a union that did not have a fair-share agreement. When they had problems, non-members who were paying nothing for representation had no problem coming to the union and drawing on its resources for help. As a grievance representative, I handled and won several such cases.

One case sticks in my mind. It involved a new hire who was severely misclassified – so much so that she would have lost several thousand dollars a year and been ineligible for benefits. When she spoke to management about this, they dismissed her concerns, so she brought it to our attention. She was angry – “How can you let this happen? What’s the union going to do about this?” We told her it was the first we’d heard of it, and that we’d investigate.

We worked hard on her case and won her the proper classification. She received the pay she was supposed to get and health insurance. We were able to do so because of new contract language that we had made a bargaining priority a year before.

She benefited from our ability to negotiate and enforce a contract. That representation – bargaining and enforcing a contract – is what is covered by the fair-share union-security clauses that HB 402 would outlaw.

But again, we didn’t have a fair-share clause. And she was quite content to remain a free-rider and to contribute nothing towards her representation. But I bet we’d have heard from her if she had had another problem.

That’s the reality of an open shop situation. That open-shop reality should not be imposed on all New Hampshire workers by a legislative mandate that interferes with negotiations between New Hampshire workers and employers. I urge you to reject HB 402 as Inexpedient to Legislate.

Linda Horan Statement Against Right To Work Legislation (HB402)

Linda Horan

Linda Horan at a Rally for FairPoint workers

Today the NH House Labor Committee is hearing testimony on HB 402, Right To Work legislation.  Many people are at the State House testifying for this bill.  Linda Horan, a labor activist for many years, sent us her testimony.

Statement in Opposition to HB402
February 17, 2015

Good afternoon. My name is Linda Horan. I live in Alstead. I’m a retired telephone company worker and a proud member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320.

During my 32 years as a phone worker, I had health insurance, good wages, a pension, and job security. These weren’t given to me by the company. These were things that I worked with other union members to win. And once we won them, we protected them. We didn’t do this by begging the company as individuals. We did this by working together to accomplish as a group what we couldn’t achieve as individuals. That’s the basic principle of unionism. HB402 attacks that principle.

Today, members of IBEW Local 2320, have been on strike for 124 days. This is a strike about our future and the future of telecommunications in New Hampshire. It’s a strike to defend hard won gains that have created a decent standard of living and job security. FairPoint is demanding the right to contract out every job. If that happens, all that we have worked together to gain could be gone just like that.

Again, phone workers won a decent standard of living and job security by standing together to accomplish together what we could not achieve as individuals. HB402 mocks these accomplishments and seeks to tear them down.

HB402 says that it is okay for someone to see all that we accomplished, decide they want to enjoy those benefits, but refuse to contribute to the costs of improving and maintaining them. That’s an insult. And it’s a threat to our well-being.

HB402 is nothing more than a unionbusting proposal dressed up in false claims about economic benefits and personal liberty.

Claims about personal liberty are a sham. Proponents are not bothered by other job requirements. They do not complain when employers insist on educational requirements completely unrelated to a job. They do not object when non-union retailers tell new hires that clerks are expected to wear red shirts and black pants, so go out and buy them if you want the job. We don’t hear a peep from Right-to-Work advocates about the at-will status of workers without union protections – workers who can be fired without just cause. But let an employer negotiate a fair-share contract clause proposed by its workers and somehow personal liberty is under attack.

Many of you are familiar with the children’s story book about The Little Red Hen, who couldn’t get any help from the other barnyard animals when she decided to bake some bread. But those other animals wanted to share the bread once she had done all the work. The moral of the story is don’t expect to reap without sowing. That’s an important lesson that I taught my kids. HB402 turns the moral of the story upside down. It says the little red hen violated the personal liberty of the pig, the cat, and other animals who wanted to freeload off her.
In conclusion, Local 2320 has a fair share clause in our contract. There are a handful of non-members who pay a fair share fee, which is less than full dues. I wish they were members, but at least they pay their share of the costs of bargaining and enforcing the contract that provides the benefits we enjoy. That’s because the law allows us to make a democratic decision to negotiate a fair-share agreement as part of our contract. HB402 would take away that right. That’s wrong. We don’t need the State looking over our shoulder and telling us what to bargain.

I urge you to vote HB402 Inexpedient to Legislate. Also, please accept this as testimony against HB658, which I urge you to vote Inexpedient to Legislate for the same reasons.

Raising The Minimum Wage Helps Seniors And Boosts The Social Security Trust Fund

Alliance For Retired Americans

Testimony On Raising The Minimum Wage From Lucy Edwards, President of the NH Alliance For Retired Americans

The following statement was e-mailed to the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee for the hearing on the minimum wage bills.

While retirement security may not be the first thing that you consider when you think about the minimum wage, it should be part of your decision making. New Hampshire is an old state, and getting older, and the health of our economy depends on the economic security of all our citizens. We retirees have a long experience with the working world, and none of us has seen a business succeed, no matter how great their product or service, without enough customers with money to spend. Demand is the main driver of successful business.

So how does the level of the minimum wage in New Hampshire affect retirees?

First: Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings.

Second: the ability to save for retirement outside of Social Security depends on earnings as well.

Third: the minimum wage is NOT only the wage paid to teenagers on their first jobs. Many adults work one, or two or three of these jobs, attempting to support their families. FICA taxes are taken out of minimum wage jobs too! But if these jobs are the only ones that are available to too many of our citizens, they will be living in poverty in their old age. The much-too-low minimum wage goes on hurting in retirement. In fact, too many seniors end up taking minimum wage jobs to have enough money to live in retirement!

Fourth: raising the minimum wage would increase the funds that the Social Security Trust Fund takes in and would help to push off or completely remove any possible insolvency from the fund.

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans urges you to support raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire.

The mission of our Alliance is to strive for social and economic justice, and civil rights for all citizens to enjoy lives with dignity, personal and family fulfillment, and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities. Here in New Hampshire we represent approximately 13,000 members.

Capital Gains Proposal Would Generate New Revenue While Reducing Property Tax for Thousands

CONCORD, NH – The House Ways and Means Committee today held a hearing on a proposal that would both raise needed revenue for the state and begin to address the lack of equity in its tax system. HB 634 would expand New Hampshire’s existing interest and dividends tax to include capital gains, generating nearly $100 million in new revenue each year once fully implemented.

While bolstering the resources available for the FY 2016-2017 budget, the proposal would also reduce the taxes paid by everyday Granite Staters. It would increase the basic exemptions within the interest and dividend tax and update the Low and Moderate Income Homeowner Property Tax Relief Program to ensure more individuals and families can access rebates through the program. Additionally, the proposal allocates the first $25 million in revenue to restore dedicated revenue sharing with cities and towns, reducing pressure on local property taxes.

“This proposal would close a gap in New Hampshire’s existing tax system and allow the state to make important investments in education, public safety, and other services that support working families and strengthen the Granite State economy,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch in his testimony before the committee.

“Most New Hampshire residents would see no change in the taxes they pay if this proposal became law, but everyone would see greater support for the services they count on state government to provide,” added McLynch. “Of those who would pay a different tax bill, many more would receive a tax cut than would experience a tax increase.”

New Hampshire has historically relied on taxes on property, the sale of property, and the income some property produces to help finance public services. Yet, New Hampshire currently excludes from taxation the income received from the sale of stocks and other assets, known as capital gains. IRS data show that 88 percent of all taxable capital gains reported in New Hampshire in 2012 accrued to taxpayers with incomes over $200,000; taxpayers with incomes of over $1 million accounted for 66 percent. As a result, 98 percent of the revenue generated by HB 634 will come from the top 20 percent of income earners in the state.

Due to a variety of factors, New Hampshire’s revenue system has yet to fully recover from the national recession of 2007 through 2009. At the close of FY 2014, General and Education Fund revenue amounted to $2.17 billion. After adjusting for inflation, that sum is approximately 12 percent or roughly $290 million less than what was collected from the same sources in FY 2008.

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.

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