• Advertisement

Kuster Helps Introduce Equality Act to Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Individuals

Kuster Helped Announce the Legislation at a Press Conference on Capitol Hill Today

Kuster Helped Announce the Legislation at a Press Conference on Capitol Hill Today

Washington, DC – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined with 155 of her colleagues to introduce the Equality Act, a bill to ban discrimination against LGBT individuals in arenas such as housing, employment, federal funding, education, credit, and jury service. Congresswoman Kuster has long pushed for equal rights legislation to protect LGBT Americans, and today’s legislation would help our country take an important step forward towards protecting their rights. 

“No one should be discriminated against simply because of whom they love,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Our country was founded on principles of equality and justice for all, and these principles apply to every American. That’s why I was proud to help introduce the Equality Act today, which would ban discrimination against LGBT individuals and help protect their rights as American citizens. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join together and support this legislation that is so crucial for preserving equal rights for all.”

The Equality Act will amend the Civil Rights Act to illegalize discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was introduced today by 156 members, including lead sponsors Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). At a press conference today the cosponsors of the bill, including Congresswoman Kuster, highlighted the importance of eliminating discrimination against LGBT individuals across the board in every aspect of their lives. 

Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated in favor of equal rights for every American. Earlier this year, she joined with over 200 of her colleagues in Congress to submit an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality for LGBT individuals, and in 2012 she signed a similar amicus brief advocating for the Court to overturn the prejudicial Defense of Marriage Act in order to force the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages as legal. Kuster is a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, an organization dedicated to promoting equal protection under the law for LGBT Americans. She has also cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and she has long been committed to passing legislation to ensure that employees cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Response to Governor’s Compromise Budget Proposal

On Thursday morning, Gov. Maggie Hassan presented a compromise budget proposal and urged lawmakers to get to work quickly to reach an agreement.

The compromise proposal includes more funding for numerous key priorities, including winter road maintenance, fighting the addiction epidemic, overtime at the Department of Corrections, and the Community College System of New Hampshire. The proposal also includes funding for the new state employee contract negotiated by SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members; the Legislature cut funding for that agreement during budget negotiations.

Following the press conference, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Richard Gulla issued the following statement:

“We applaud the governor for proactively putting forward a budget compromise that incorporates priorities from both Republicans and Democrats, and including the funding necessary to fulfill the fairly negotiated contract for the hard working state employees who deliver quality public services to our state every day,” Gulla said.

“Throughout this budget process, our members have continued to do their jobs to make sure our roads are safe, our veterans and most needy are cared for, and that Granite Staters have the tools they need to compete for good jobs in today’s economy,” Gulla said. “Now it’s time for the Legislature to do its job, by coming back to the table quickly and reaching a bipartisan compromise by the target date of Sept. 16 so that we have a state budget that meets the needs of our state.”

Democratic Legislators Offer Fiscally Responsible Compromise Budget Proposal

Governor’s Proposal Includes Business Tax Cuts on Faster Timeline While Protecting State’s Long-Term Fiscal Outlook and Ability to Support Critical Economic Priorities 

CONCORD – In an effort to reach a fiscally responsible, balanced and bipartisan budget agreement, Governor Maggie Hassan today offered a compromise proposal that includes and accelerates business tax cuts while also protecting the state’s long-term fiscal outlook and ability to support critical priorities such as combating the heroin crisis, holding down the cost of college tuition, continuing to strengthen and increase access to health coverage, and maintaining our roads and bridges.  

“Over the past several weeks, I have met with business leaders and citizens across New Hampshire, and while businesses would of course like to pay lower taxes, they also recognize – as the bipartisan business tax commission has said – that there are other critical priorities that we must support, including investing in higher education, substance abuse prevention, health care, and transportation infrastructure,” Governor Hassan said. “This plan would allow us to do both: lower business taxes and ensure that in the future we do not have to make significant cuts to those critical priorities.”

Governor Hassan’s proposal lowers the Business Profits Tax to 7.9 percent for the 2016 tax year, three years earlier than the Committee of Conference budget, while increasing the threshold on who has to file and pay the Business Enterprise Tax, eliminating the tax completely for 5,500 small businesses. The Governor also includes funds to address the concerns raised by House Bill 550 and calls for stronger public process with additional public hearings on the language in August. The compromise proposal would also eliminate the Committee of Conference’s attempt to double count 2015 dollars to balance Fiscal Year 2016. 

To offset the business tax cuts and the use of carryforward funds, the Governor’s compromise proposal would increase the cigarette tax by 21 cents – still lower than neighboring states– and include parity for e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. It would also increase the state portion of motor vehicle registration fee by five dollars and close a tax loophole restoring the Taxpayer Protection and Fair Documentation requirements to the state’s tax code, ensuring that all taxpayers are treated fairly. 

With these steps, the Governor’s compromise proposal would strengthen efforts to combat the heroin crisis, providing $5.7 million in additional funds over the Committee of Conference budget for substance abuse prevention and treatment. Following a recommendation by Senior Director for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Jack Wozmak, the compromise proposal also moves up extension of substance abuse benefits to the existing Medicaid population to January 2016, and provides additional funds to support other efforts, such as a drug court in the City of Manchester. 

The compromise proposal also adequately funds winter maintenance for highways, restores travel and tourism funds, and includes the modest cost-of-living pay increase for state employees that was previously negotiated in good faith. 

Governor Hassan’s compromise proposal also recognizes that Republican legislators want to take up reauthorization of the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program – which is providing coverage to more than 41,000 hard-working Granite Staters – outside of this budget. It does not remove the sunset for expansion, but it includes funds for the legislature to collect data on the program in the interim and ensures that funds are available to move forward if the program is reauthorized at a later date. 

“As providers, health care professionals and other stakeholders tell me, the single most important step we can take in battling the opioid crisis is reauthorizing the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which is already providing substance abuse services to thousands of Granite Staters,” Governor Hassan said. “I have heard from Republican legislative leaders that they are not willing to act on reauthorization in the budget, so this proposal does not move forward with reauthorization at this time.”

 “Although we will reluctantly agree to wait to take up legislation reauthorizing expansion, we must do everything that we can between now and then to provide certainty about the future of the program and ensure that we have the data that the legislature needs,” Governor Hassan added. “We must reauthorize this critical program as quickly as possible to continue bringing tens of millions of dollars in federal funds into New Hampshire to increase our substance abuse treatment capacity.”

The Governor is encouraging the legislature to work in August so the full legislature can take up a compromise budget when they return on September 16.

“This proposal is a compromise, and it is an effort to address the real concerns of Republicans and Democrats in the legislature,” Governor Hassan said. “It provides Republicans with what they have indicated is their highest priority – cutting corporate taxes – in a faster timeframe while addressing concerns about long-term fiscal responsibility and protecting our ability to support critical economic priorities.” 

“While people on both ends of either party may still want a different plan than the one I am proposing, this plan attempts to address the concerns of both parties in order to reach a common-ground that has enough votes from both sides of the aisle,” the Governor added. “I hope that this proposal can serve as a basis for bipartisan compromise and negotiation.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn and House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff issued the following statement on Governor Hassan’s fiscally responsible compromise budget proposal:

“Passing a responsible budget requires compromise and we thank Governor Hassan for her leadership in proposing a fiscally responsible plan that seeks to address the concerns of both parties while still meeting the needs of New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy.” 

“While the Governor’s proposal doesn’t contain everything we wish it did, it represents a true compromise by including Republicans’ top priority – business tax cuts – while offsetting the tax cuts to preserve our ability to invest in critical economic priorities like combating the heroin crisis, holding down the cost of college tuition, maintaining our roads and bridges, and protecting access to quality, affordable health care.”

“With the legislature scheduled to be in session in September, it’s imperative that our Republican colleagues come back to the table now so that we can pass a responsible, compromise budget on September 16.”

 

Granite State Rumblings: Hunger And Poverty Don’t Take A Vacation

I love summer! I especially love that I don’t ever have to turn on my oven during the summer. If it can’t be cooked on the barbecue, it isn’t in my recipe file during the summer months. And it seems that there are plenty of great recipes to choose from all summer long. Each meal is always accompanied by locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and usually a dessert that has been created with farm fresh ingredients. Life is good!

But summertime can be a very difficult time for children who need to eat nutritious meals. Kids may be on vacation, but as a report from FRAC points out, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation.

Nearly 1 in 6 Low-Income Children Receive Summer Meals, Report Finds

Momentum Signals Progress and Outlines Path for Continued Growth

More low-income children are eating summer meals, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) which showed more than 3.2 million children participated in the Summer Nutrition Programs in July 2014. This represents a seven percent increase over the previous year, and demonstrates what can be done when the federal government, states, and communities make summer food a priority.

There was significant progress in 2014 in reaching a higher proportion of children in need. In its annual report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, FRAC measures the success of Summer Nutrition Programs at the national and state levels by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of low-income children receiving school lunch during the regular school year. By that measure, one in six children (16:100) who needed summer nutrition received it. In July 2013, the ratio was 15:100.

“Higher participation rates in summer food mean more low-income children get the fuel they need to thrive over the summer months,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Congress can further this progress in this year’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization law by making strategic and thoughtful investments in the Summer Nutrition Programs that bolster their capacity to serve even more children.”

The Summer Nutrition Programs, which include the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program over the summer period, provide free meals at participating summer sites at schools, parks, other public agencies, and nonprofits for children under 18. Not only do children benefit from the free meals, but they also benefit from the enrichment activities that keep them learning and engaged.

Leadership by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contributed to this progress. The agency has prioritized summer meal growth by partnering with national organizations to increase the number of sponsors and sites and by providing hands-on assistance to states. As a result, the Summer Nutrition Programs served lunch to 3.2 million children on an average day in July 2014, an increase of more than 215,000, or 7.3 percent, from July 2013.

These gains pave the way for even more progress to be made. If every state had reached the goal of 40 children participating in Summer Nutrition in July 2014 for every 100 receiving free or reduced-price lunch during the 2013-2014 school year, an additional 4.6 million children would have been fed each day, and states would have collected an additional $360 million in child nutrition funding in July alone.

“Participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs has continued to increase over the last three years and thousands more children are being reached as a result,” said Weill. “Working together, we can continue to build on this progress and move closer to a hunger-free summer for all children.”

About the report: The Food Research and Action Center’s annual summer report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, gives data for all states and looks at national trends. The report measures participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of children receiving school lunch during the regular school year. The regular school year is used as a measure because such a high proportion of low-income children eat school lunch on regular school days. FRAC measures national summer participation during the month of July, when typically all children are out of school throughout the month and lose access to regular year school meals.

To find a summer meals site near you click on this link and follow the directions:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

GROWING UP GRANITE

Those who know me well will tell you that I am passionate when it comes to the subject of poverty, especially child poverty. I am privileged to work for an organization that allows me to invest my time and energy in advocating for children who live in poverty, working on solutions to poverty and the programs that serve our most vulnerable population, and educating our elected officials and the public about the hazards of growing up in poverty.

Sometimes I go to bed wondering why this work has chosen me as there are many days that I feel burned out, frustrated and powerless. But then I see the smiling face of a child in a Head Start program when he proudly shows me how he has learned to write his name, or I listen to a mom who is struggling to find a job that will pay her enough to keep food on the table and a roof over the head of her children, and the fire ignites once again.

There are a lot of great people who work on this issue and so many other important issues. They proudly wear their orange badges in the Legislative Office Building and State House of New Hampshire. They sit in committee hearings, testify on bills, call and meet with legislators and the Governor’s office, meet and strategize with others who are working on the issues, and rally the troops.

Others do their work outside of the legislative process, working in the departments, agencies, and programs that serve children and families. Their dedication to those families and their willingness to share their knowledge with advocates and others is essential to the process.

While there is still work to do on a state budget before the end of the year, I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who advocate each and every day. I also want to thank all of you who have answered our requests to write letters, call your representatives, talk to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors and have gotten involved. We could not do our work without your assistance.

We also could not have done our jobs without the voices of those who have been willing to tell their personal stories. They are the true heroes. Their voices are important and necessary, as they speak with the knowledge and urgency that an advocate who has not walked a mile in their shoes can even hope to approximate.

It is our hope that the Governor and Legislators will work diligently and swiftly to carve out a budget agreement that is fair to all Granite State citizens and one that will move individuals and families forward. We also hope that the voices of those who rely upon all government supported programs will be heard in these meetings.

Last week Governor Hassan vetoed SB 169 and indicated that she will sign HB 219 when it reaches her desk. We thank the Governor for taking this reasonable and fair approach to legislation that will affect those who rely upon public assistance and use electronic benefit transfer cards in our state.

Governor Hassan’s Veto Message Regarding SB 169

Governor Maggie Hassan released the following message after vetoing SB 169:

“By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 10, 2015, I have vetoed Senate Bill 169, relative to the permissible uses of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.

“Senate Bill 169 prohibits the use of cash received from electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards for the purpose of gambling and the purchase of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, firearms, and adult entertainment. While the sponsors and I agree that public assistance should not be used for these purposes, the approach taken by this legislation would be unenforceable, as retail clerks and sales associates would have no way of determining where an individual’s cash came from at the time of sale.  That is why I will sign the alternative – and workable – version of this legislation, House Bill 219.

“Senate Bill 169 could lead to retail clerks being in the uncomfortable position of policing potential abuse by trying to decide whether ‘someone looks like’ they receive assistance. That could lead to discrimination, as many of those who opposed the bill warned. The seniors, people with disabilities, and struggling families who receive cash public assistance sometimes have alternative sources of income, making it nearly impossible to determine the source of the cash that is being utilized for the purchase.

“House Bill 219 allows for a more enforceable approach to address the issue of potential public assistance fraud or abuse. House Bill 219 prevents use of EBT cards within body piercing or tattoo parlors, cigar stores and smoke shops, and marijuana dispensaries. These locations are exclusive to the product or service they provide, and thus preventing use of EBT cards in these establishments does not prevent someone from purchasing basic household items that these locations do not sell. House Bill 219 also requires an educational component for cash assistance recipients and retail establishments, something Senate Bill 169 fails to do. For these reasons, I will be signing into law House Bill 219 when it reaches my desk.

“Senate Bill 169 establishes an unenforceable precedent that could put our cashiers and retail clerks in the untenable position of determining the source of a customer’s cash in an attempt to police potential abuse, along with denying access to families who need and qualify for this financial support. I will be signing House Bill 219, which accomplishes this bill’s goals of protecting taxpayer dollars used in this critical program without creating an unenforceable regulation or the potential for discrimination. Therefore, I have vetoed Senate Bill 169.”

Partisan Commerce Committee Bill Should be Scrapped or Amended

Transportation Trade Department LogoWashington, DC — Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement on the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD):

“At a time when our country’s transportation infrastructure is failing and disenfranchised Americans are desperate for work, bipartisan support is crucial to fund our nation’s highway and transit systems and boost job creation.

“Instead of following a bipartisan model — as Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) of the EPW Committee demonstrated last month — Commerce Committee Republicans are unwisely using their section of the surface transportation reauthorization bill to advance a partisan agenda that harms workers.  

“The Thune bill includes a poorly veiled measure designed to blame workers and their unions for all port delays during a bargaining dispute. It also prematurely allows the use of hair specimens for drug testing of bus and truck drivers. These provisions have no place in any portion of the surface transportation reauthorization bill.

“Sen. Thune’s bill also fails to require rail carriers to provide emergency responders with information about the amount and type of hazardous materials moving through their localities — a commonsense measure that is critical to the efforts of first responders to save lives.

“The highway/transit reauthorization bill is one of the most important initiatives Congress will consider this year. Senate Commerce Committee Republicans must stop playing partisan politics with this already long-delayed transportation investment bill, and reject proposals that undermine the rights of employees and fail to support our transportation system.”


The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, provides a bold voice for workers in every mode of transportation devoted to protecting middle-class jobs, expanding collective bargaining, and ensuring modern, safe, and secure transportation operations and infrastructure. For more information, visit us at www.ttd.org.

Governor Hassan’s Veto Message Regarding SB 169, Relative To The Use Of EBT Cards

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan released the following message after vetoing SB 169:

“By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 10, 2015, I have vetoed Senate Bill 169, relative to the permissible uses of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.

“Senate Bill 169 prohibits the use of cash received from electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards for the purpose of gambling and the purchase of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, firearms, and adult entertainment. While the sponsors and I agree that public assistance should not be used for these purposes, the approach taken by this legislation would be unenforceable, as retail clerks and sales associates would have no way of determining where an individual’s cash came from at the time of sale.  That is why I will sign the alternative – and workable – version of this legislation, House Bill 219.

“Senate Bill 169 could lead to retail clerks being in the uncomfortable position of policing potential abuse by trying to decide whether ‘someone looks like’ they receive assistance. That could lead to discrimination, as many of those who opposed the bill warned. The seniors, people with disabilities, and struggling families who receive cash public assistance sometimes have alternative sources of income, making it nearly impossible to determine the source of the cash that is being utilized for the purchase. 

“House Bill 219 allows for a more enforceable approach to address the issue of potential public assistance fraud or abuse. House Bill 219 prevents use of EBT cards within body piercing or tattoo parlors, cigar stores and smoke shops, and marijuana dispensaries. These locations are exclusive to the product or service they provide, and thus preventing use of EBT cards in these establishments does not prevent someone from purchasing basic household items that these locations do not sell. House Bill 219 also requires an educational component for cash assistance recipients and retail establishments, something Senate Bill 169 fails to do. For these reasons, I will be signing into law House Bill 219 when it reaches my desk. 

“Senate Bill 169 establishes an unenforceable precedent that could put our cashiers and retail clerks in the untenable position of determining the source of a customer’s cash in an attempt to police potential abuse, along with denying access to families who need and qualify for this financial support. I will be signing House Bill 219, which accomplishes this bill’s goals of protecting taxpayer dollars used in this critical program without creating an unenforceable regulation or the potential for discrimination. Therefore, I have vetoed Senate Bill 169.”

Governor Hassan’s Veto Message Regarding SB 179, Voting Rights And Eligibility

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan released the following message after vetoing SB 179: 

“By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 10, 2015, I have vetoed Senate Bill 179, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information.

“The constitutional right of all citizens to vote is the most fundamental right of our democracy, and we must always be working to ensure that people who are legally domiciled in New Hampshire are not blocked from voting. Senate Bill 179 places unreasonable restrictions upon all New Hampshire citizens’ right to vote in this state with an arbitrary timeline that will prevent lawful residents from taking part in the robust citizen democracy that we are so proud of in the Granite State.

“Our present law provides for same day voter registration, whereby an individual domiciled within the state can register and vote on the date of an election.  Contrary to this voting system, Senate Bill 179 requires that an individual establish a domicile for no less than 30 consecutive days before any election in which the person offers to vote.   This durational requirement unnecessarily interferes with both the right to vote and the right to travel under the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions. Similar restrictions have been found unconstitutional in states with same day voter registration as there is no compelling state interest to support such a law. In the First In The Nation state, it is hard to imagine that we would prohibit someone who moves here for a job in the middle of August from voting in a mid-term primary at the beginning of September, or in any of the numerous similar situations that would be impacted by this law.

“We want to encourage individuals and their families to move to our state and, upon doing so, offer them all the rights and protections of being a New Hampshire citizen.  This includes the right to participate in our democratic process and vote in our elections regardless of whether an individual moves to New Hampshire 29 days before an election or 31 days before an election. In both instances, the individual, who chooses New Hampshire as his or her domicile, should be welcomed and allowed to vote.

“We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent and aggressively prosecute voter fraud, but Senate Bill 179 does not do anything to accomplish those goals. Restricting the rights of those who are constitutionally eligible to vote with a durational requirement does nothing to prevent people from lying about where they live, it merely denies people who recently moved to New Hampshire and are lawful residents of our state their fundamental right to vote. 

This bill violates the constitutional right of people who are lawful residents of New Hampshire to vote, a fundamental right that is critical to the vibrancy of our democracy. Therefore, I have vetoed Senate Bill 179.”

Granite Staters Speak Out In Support Of Hassan And Budget Veto

Businesses, Advocates And Elected Officials Stand With Governor Hassan As She Fights For A Fiscally Responsible Budget That Protects Economic Priorities

Tom Strickland, owner of Sequoya Technologies Group in Peterborough, wrote in an op-ed, “My business is larger than 93 percent of the businesses in New Hampshire and these tax cuts will only save me $150 per year. That’s not enough for me to hire workers, buy equipment, or expand… What these tax cuts WILL do is result in even deeper cuts in critical state programs. The needs don’t go away when the program funding does. Those needs just shift to the community and that costs us all. Please keep my tax cut. I just can’t afford it.”

In a joint op-ed, Katie Robert, president of the New Hampshire Public Health Association and Kim Mohan, executive director of the New England Rural Health Roundtable, wrote, “The priorities embraced by the 2016-17 budgets, recently passed by the New Hampshire House and Senate, seem notably inconsistent with the needs of the state from a public health and public policy perspective… While these budget priorities are disconnected with the needs of the state overall, they would be particularly detrimental to the rural communities of our state, which make up 47 percent of the state’s population and cover 90 percent of its area.” 

In an editorial on the Supreme Court’s decision upholding access to affordable health coverage, the Concord Monitor wrote, “The New Hampshire Legislature, in particular, should see the writing on the wall and reauthorize the state’s [Medicaid expansion] program without delay.” 

Tym Rourke, chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, told the Concord Monitor, “Reauthorization [of Medicaid expansion] has a big impact on treatment availability.”

In a joint op-ed, Senator Andrew Hosmer and Rep. Cindy Rosenwald wrote, “We stand with Governor Hassan in her decision to veto the fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced Republican budget, which we can only describe as a trail of false promises. You may have heard Republicans claim that their budget increases funding for critical priorities like substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and our seniors. But there’s one very big problem. Republicans’ fiscally irresponsible budget isn’t actually balanced, placing every single one of those priorities — and more — at risk.”

Rep. Timothy Smith wrote in an op-ed, “This year, the Senate started by considering tens of millions of dollars in new tax cuts for businesses with its very first bills – but no one has really looked at the long-term consequences of these cuts.”

 

See below for a roundup of additional coverage:  

From the Nashua Telegraph:

… Hassan made good on her threat and vetoed the proposed two-year budget, saying the tax cuts would blow a $90 million hole in future years in exchange for giveaways to big corporations.

“When I made this decision, which I didn’t do lightly, what I really stepped back to think about was the progress we’ve made over the last two years and the progress we need to continue to make so that we are a competitive 21st century economy – not just in this two-year cycle, but in all the cycles to come,” she said Thursday during an interview with The Telegraph editorial board.

… Hassan criticized the Republican budget for unpaid-for tax giveaways to mostly out-of-state corporations at the expense of other economic priorities such as higher education and public safety.

Her administration said the budget would not provide year-to-year increase to the university system and leaves New Hampshire vulnerable to losing young people looking at high price tags at in-state colleges. She also blasted the budget for failing to adequately fund substance abuse prevention and diverting infrastructure funds intended for road and bridge repairs.

Hassan said she is not against corporate tax reductions when done properly, but said Republican budget writers raided all the wrong funding sources to make them a reality.

“Philosophically I’m not opposed to doing it, but we do have to be able to pay for the very things that businesses all around the state tell me are their priorities,” she said.

Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat and party leader in the House, said there is general agreement on spending priorities and she shares the governor’s concern about the unpaid-for business tax cuts.

“They would cost $23 million in this budget and $90 million in future budgets. The evidence that such tax cuts would drive higher economic growth just isn’t there,” Rosenwald said. “States like Kansas and Ohio have tried without success, and our own experience several years ago with a reduction in the tobacco tax rate also failed.” [Full story]

From the Associated Press:

Hassan said the budget would not provide any year-to-year increase to the university system, still funded below 2010 levels, or adequately fund substance abuse prevention. She said it also would force the Sununu Youth Services Center to cut a quarter of its budget; omit a modest cost-of-living increase for employees; divert funds intended for road and bridge repairs and underfund snow plowing and removal. [Full story]

From the Union Leader:

“I have vetoed the budget passed by the legislature because it is unbalanced, makes false promises about what it funds, and gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations, many based out-of-state, at the expense of critical economic priorities, including higher education, health care, public safety and transportation,” Hassan said in her veto message. “The long-term impact of these unpaid-for corporate tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets, further eroding our ability to encourage economic growth.” [Full story]

From NHPR:

Hassan said she hopes negotiations will start immediately. “I urge the legislators to meet with me as soon as possible so we can begin discussions on how we can build the kind of budget that is critical to our economic future,” she said Thursday at the State House. [Full story]

The NH Budget Battle Rages On As GOP Passes Unbalanced Budget And Continuing Resolution

Concord, N.H. – Today New Hampshire Republicans pushed through their unbalanced budget that would blow a $90 million dollar hole in our state budget.

“The irresponsible Republican budget is unbalanced, gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big, out-of-state corporations, and blows a $90 million hole in the budget at the expense of critical economic priorities like education, health care, transportation, and public safety,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “And while my Democratic colleagues and I would have preferred a continuing resolution that built on our areas of agreement and offered a productive step toward compromise, we are glad Republicans worked with us to ensure that state government remains open.”

Senate Democrats offered an amendment to the continuing resolution that would have authorized state agencies to spend 96 percent of the first six months of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. The floor amendment would have addressed concerns that the Republican budget is unbalanced and allowed for funding increases to home care providers, for substance abuse, mental health and charter schools, travel and tourism promotion and public schools. The amendment was defeated along a party line vote.

“What began as a special, 11th hour tax loophole for one company, and one former Governor with a profit-sharing interest in that company, has evolved into a major tax loophole that could allow all stock transactions by businesses and corporations in New Hampshire to be entirely tax-free. This tax cut is not accounted for in the budget, which is another reason why the budget is unbalanced. This far reaching tax change goes way beyond what the Business Tax Study Commission recommended to be reviewed to help start-up companies,” said Senator Dan Feltes.

When asked about the $90 million hole Republicans would blow in the budget in order to give unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations, Republican Speaker Shawn Jasper said that $90 million “is insignificant” in New Hampshire’s budget.

“The fact that Shawn Jasper thinks creating a $90 million hole in the budget for unpaid-for corporate tax giveaways is ‘insignificant’ underscores why Republicans have absolutely zero credibility on fiscal responsibility,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs. “A $90 million budget hole is bigger than the state budget for the community college system, and it is New Hampshire’s families, small businesses and economy that would pay the price for Republicans irresponsible and unpaid-for tax giveaways.”

Govenror Hassan threatened to veto this unbalanced budget and has been steadfast in her opposition to these tax giveaways.  The passage of a continuing resolution does mean that the threat of shutting down the government is gone but the budget battle rages on.

“The Republican budget is unbalanced, dishonest about what it funds, and includes unpaid-for corporate tax cuts that create a more than $90 million budget hole in future budgets at the expense of critical economic priorities, and I will veto it when it comes to my desk,” said Governor Hassan. (Full Statement)

“We’re proud to stand with Governor Hassan as she continues to fight for the long-term economic interests of our state, and the priorities that will move New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy forward, including affordable college tuition, safe roads and bridges, access to quality and affordable health coverage, and protecting our communities,”  said Woodburn.

“We must return to work immediately, and I urge my Senate colleagues to work together with Governor Hassan and members of both parties to pass a responsible, balanced budget that actually funds what it claims to,”  said Woodburn.

“Finding consensus requires both sides to be willing to compromise and I hope that we can all agree that we need to find a solution that supports our families and small businesses, keeps our economy moving in the right direction, and expands opportunity for all,”  concluded Woodburn.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute has also been an outspoken opponent to the tax giveaways to out of state corporations.

New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch issued the following statement:

“What is most notable about the budget passed by the legislature today is not what it would do for New Hampshire over the next two years. Rather, the budget is more remarkable in what it lacks — and in its implications for New Hampshire’s longer-term future.

“Absent from the legislature’s budget are provisions to keep New Hampshire’s landmark Health Protection Program in place beyond 2016, creating uncertainty for enrollees and providers and putting the state at risk for losing millions in federal funds. Absent are more thorough responses to trends that could imperil New Hampshire’s economic future, such as sharp declines in support for public higher education; New Hampshire’s low level of support for higher education leaves students with debt burdens that are among the highest in the nation. Absent too is funding for the previously agreed upon state employee contract.

“Absent, most critically, is more than $20 million in state revenue due to short-sighted business tax cuts, as well as any plan for accommodating the much larger revenue losses they will produce in the years ahead. These tax cuts will leave future legislators with the daunting task of deciding how to come to grips with the loss of more than $65 million in revenue in FY 2018-2019 and more than $90 million in FY 2020-2021.

“We hope policymakers can come together soon to craft an alternative budget that is fiscally and socially responsible and that puts New Hampshire on a path toward a more prosperous future for all.”

Related: NH Building Trades Condemn Irresponsible Republican Budget

NH Building Trades Condemns Irresponsible Republican Budget

Building Trades

Concord – House and Senate Republicans passed a fiscally irresponsible, gimmick-laden, dishonest budget today that will harm New Hampshire’s working families.

NH Building and Construction Trades Council President Steve Burk issued the following statement:

“Today’s Republican budget is a disaster for working families that does absolutely nothing to create good paying middle class jobs for Granite Staters. This budget hands out a massive tax cut to big out-of-state corporations that will blow a $90 million hole in our budget. We know from what has happened in Kansas that huge tax cuts don’t pay for themselves. To the contrary, they cause job losses, decreased revenue, and economic damage. Republicans are playing politics with our economy rather than doing the people’s business, and New Hampshire is worse off for it.

What’s even worse, this Republican budget reneges on a fairly negotiated contract with our state employees. This is a breach of trust that undermines the credibility of our government and hurts working families. The people of New Hampshire deserve better.

Governor Hassan should veto this irresponsible budget, and Republicans should negotiate in good faith to find a path ahead that funds critical priorities like job creation, education, health care, transportation, and public safety.”

The NH Building and Construction Trades Council is an organization of more than 20 New Hampshire labor unions in the construction industry, representing more than 3,000 working men and women.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement