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Republicans Brings Shame On New Hampshire By Voting To Take ‘No Action’ On Rep Fisher Before He Resigns

How many Granite Staters feel right now

Once again the NH Republican Party has brought shame to our great state.  

Today, the NH Legislative Administrative Committee met to vote on whether any action would be taken against Rep Robert Fisher for his comments promoting rape and Rep Sherry Frost for her personal tweets that were deemed inappropriate due to her use of “foul” language.

“The actions by House Republicans on the Legislative Administration Committee today were an embarrassing abdication of our duties as Representatives,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff.

Republican Dick Hinch (Merrimack), chair of the committee, wanted to have one vote covering both Representatives implying that the tweets made by Rep Frost were somehow equal to the years of rape promotion by Rep Fisher.

“Decisions made by the majority today were clearly designed to provide cover for Representative Fisher and deny the ability to take any action against him. Dictating that the committee consider the actions of both Representatives Fisher and Frost in a single motion violates both legislative process and common sense, and violates the legislature’s right to discipline its members as it sees fit,” Shurtleff added.

“The NH GOP is sending a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Rep. Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. There should have been no hesitation in calling out Fisher’s action and no hiding behind false equivalences.  The NH GOP didn’t want to hold Fisher accountable, so they chose instead to target a female legislator who speaks her mind. This is the same playbook that encourages rape culture in the first place – blame the woman,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress in a May 4th statement.

Just prior to the committee vote, Rep Tim Smith (D- Manchester) highlighted how Rep Fisher is still moderates the Red Pill Reddit under another alias.  Rep Fisher, under oath, denied having any continued involvement with the Red Pill Reddit, however the evidence provided indicates that he was lying under oath, a fact the Republican leadership did not seem to care about.

In his statement today, Rep Shurtleff announced the he personally would “ask the Attorney General to investigate the allegations that he still runs the Red Pill forum.”

Rep Smith also noted that the committee had received over 40,000 petitions to have Rep Fisher removed from office.

“Robert Fisher is a rape promoter who has no place serving in government,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet one of the advocacy groups behind the petition drive.“Comments like Fisher’s contribute directly to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women. Fisher’s promotion of this repulsive ideology puts women’s lives at risk and undermines trust in the New Hampshire state legislature to protect all citizens.”

The vote came out as expected, straight down party lines 8-6 to take no action on Rep Fisher or Rep Frosts.  The crowd was outraged, yelling “Shame, Shame.”

Democrats on the committee wanted to submit a minority report to all members of the House before the entire House votes as early as next week. Rep Hinch, rejected their request and ruled that no minority report would be accepted.

“The most egregious action by the Republican majority today was the denial of the minority to submit a report. How ironic that the majority recommendation of ‘no action’ was made under the guise of supporting free speech, while simultaneously denying the minority the long established tradition to formally oppose majority action by including a minority report,” Shurtleff added.

After the vote today, Rice-Hawkins said, “The NH GOP sent a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch, and the entire Republican caucus of the Legislative Administration committee undermined the trust placed in them by constituents by putting party politics ahead of the women and children of our state and voting for no action to be taken on then-Rep. Fisher. There is absolutely no question this was about politics, since the Republicans required the motion on Fisher to be combined with a motion regarding actions of another elected official, leaving the committee with only the option to approve or condemn them both. It is hard to imagine a jury being ordered to issue a joint ruling on two different individuals charged with two very different offenses, but that is exactly the partisan game the NH House GOP played today. Furthermore, they refused to even allow a minority report.”

After the despicable action by the GOP voting to take no action, effectively justifying his rape comments, Rep Fisher officially resigned his position effective at noon today.

Prior to the committee session, members of UltraViolet, Granite State Progress and Action Together spoke out against Rep Fisher’s rape comments and once again called for his resignation.

“Action Together New Hampshire is pleased to learn Robert Fisher tendered his resignation following the executive session on his actions. While seeing Fisher out of a position of power was the outcome we were seeking, we are deeply disturbed by the extreme partisanship and blatant misogyny that this process exposed in the House,” said Action Together New Hampshire Executive Director Emily Morgan.  “Action Together New Hampshire remains committed to holding elected officials accountable regardless of party affiliation, and we expect honorable public servants to also hold their colleagues to a higher standard of behavior than Mr. Fisher demonstrated.”

“We are pleased that Rep. Fisher finally resigned, though we note his resignation only came after House Democrats threatened to take his statements under oath to the Attorney General for investigation. From start to finish, Robert Fisher has not been honest and transparent regarding his viewpoints that women are of a lesser class than their male counterparts,” Rice-Hawkins added.

“We welcome Robert Fisher’s resignation from the New Hampshire state legislature. Fisher’s repulsive ideology and cultivation of a pro-rape forum put women’s lives at risk–he directly contributed to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women.  It is deeply concerning that New Hampshire’s Legislative Administration Committee did not recognize what the rest of us did – that brand of dangerous misogyny simply has no place our government,” said Karin Roland, Chief Campaigns Officer of UltraViolet.

Ultimately the goal of removing Rep Fisher from the House was accomplished but not until after the committee brought shame our state by justifying his comments and actions by voting to take “no action.”

Convicted Domestic Abuser Placed In Leadership Of NH House Committe That Oversees DV Laws

GOP Lawmaker Convicted of Domestic Violence Named Vice Chair of NH House Committee That Oversees DV Laws 

Rep. Frank Sapereto (R-Derry) was convicted of simple assault in 2013 and has twice sponsored legislation to weaken New Hampshire’s simple assault laws

Concord, NH – Convicted GOP lawmaker Frank Sapereto (R-Derry) was named the Vice Chair of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee yesterday afternoon. The committee hears all domestic violence and sexual assault legislation; Rep. Sapereto was convicted of simple assault in 2013 and has twice attempted to weaken New Hampshire’s simple assault laws, in 2013 and 2014. 

“An individual convicted of domestic violence should not hold a leadership position on the very committee that will determine domestic violence laws in our state,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “In addition to his own conviction, Rep. Sapareto has twice sponsored legislation to weaken New Hampshire’s simple assault law, even though domestic violence advocates and law enforcement have repeatedly warned that doing so would empower bullies and abusers. This appointment also raises serious questions about how comfortable domestic violence survivors will be participating in committee hearings under his leadership.” 

“I’m very disappointed in this decision by the Speaker,” said Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party. “Appointing someone with a criminal record to chair the Criminal Justice committee would be inappropriate in any circumstances, but to do it in exchange for an endorsement is reprehensible.”

In 2013, now-former State Rep. Mark Warden (R-Goffstown) spoke in support of Sapareto’s bill to weaken simple assault laws, stating that “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships” and “are always free to leave.” In a media interview that same year, Sapareto stated that the state court system had handled 8,417 misdemeanor assault cases the previous year and that his bill made sense because no one was seriously hurt in at least half of those cases. WCAX reported that House Speaker Shawn Jasper “says he offered Sapareto the job to win his backing for the speakership, which Sapareto also sought.”

According to the most recent report from the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse Domestic Violence, domestic violence was a causal factor in 83% of the murder/suicides in New Hampshire during the 2014-2015 biennium. 


Related Reading:

  • Russman Law, NH Considers a Bill to Reduce Simple Assault from a Misdemeanor to a Violation, October 29, 2013
  • Eagle Tribune, Derry lawmaker fights assault conviction, April 12, 2013
  • HuffPo, Mark Warden, New Hampshire State Legislator, Says People May Like ‘Being In Abusive Relationships’, February 27, 2013 (includes Concord Monitor story and Granite State Progress video)
  • WCAX, Rep convicted of misdemeanor given top criminal justice post, December 20, 2016
  • Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee’s 11th Report, September 2016

The Sierra Club Of NH Endorses 83 “Environmental Champions” In 2016 Elections

2016-nhsc-state-endorsed-candidates

CONCORD, NH—Today, the New Hampshire Chapter of the Sierra Club has released its list of carefully selected candidate endorsements for Governor, Executive Council, State Senate and State House of Representatives. The Chapter endorsements include 65 NH State Representatives, 14 State Senators, 3 Executive Councilors and a Gubernatorial candidates. Of the total 83 endorsed candidates, each has expressed concern for the New Hampshire environment supporting action on climate solutions, public land protections, and the impacts of pollution on human health.

“New Hampshire Sierra Club is pleased to announce the official endorsements for election of these Environmental Champions,” said Jim Allmendinger, the Political Committee Co-Chair for the New Hampshire Sierra Club.

“These candidates are our best hope for preserving clean air and clean water; protecting the wild places of New Hampshire, and promoting a sustainable clean energy future,” continued Allmendinger. “The incumbents worked hard to defend against the radical climate change denying conservative agenda that threatened to dismantle smart, popular energy programs and other successful state programs. The new candidates showed their support for key environmental issues facing the state, using creative problem solving techniques that will move New Hampshire toward a more progressive clean energy future.”

“New Hampshire Sierra Club endorsed these candidates based on responses to an in-depth questionnaire, voting record, and history of environmental involvement. The New Hampshire Sierra Club endorsement list will be distributed to the Sierra Club Members in the state online and in the mail. Members will be encouraged to volunteer and support the various campaigns in a vigorous state-wide member to member outreach program.”

Full list of endorsements here.

Republicans Kill A Bill To Expand Full Day Kindergarten

Image by Cole24_ FLICKR

Image by Cole24_ FLICKR

Republicans love to complain that our current education system is failing our children, yet when they are presented with a strong solution to boost early education, they adamantly reject it.

Earlier this month, New Hampshire legislators were given the opportunity to expand the state’s kindergarten program from half-day to full day. The bill, HB 1563, would simply provide additional state funds for schools who are already offering full day kindergarten and those who switch from half-day to full day.

“Full-day kindergarten helps make sure that students build the strong base of learning they will need to succeed throughout school and life,” wrote the National Education Association. “Full-day kindergarten can produce long-term educational gains, especially for low-income and minority students.”

The benefits of full-day kindergarten are well documented. According to research compiled by the Children’s National Defense Fund they found that children:

  • Are more prepared for school: they do better with the transition to first grade, show significant gains in school socialization and are equipped with stronger learning skills
  • Have higher academic achievement in later grades
  • Have better attendance in kindergarten and through the primary grades
  • Show faster gains on literacy and language measures when compared to half-day kindergarten students
  • Have enhanced social, emotional and behavior development
  • Have reduced retention and remediation rates.

These are substantial gains for children and a significant boost to our education system as a whole. Investing in early education will also build a stronger, well-educated workforce in the years to come.

Sadly, this will not become a reality this year because Republicans in the NH House rejected the idea.

In a completely partisan vote, the NH House rejected HB 1563, 205 to 152. Everyone who voted against expanding full day kindergarten was a Republican.

Republicans should stop their whining about the failures of our education system and start looking in the mirror. They are the ones who are failing to invest in a proven, successful program that will create lasting effects on a child’s ability to learn and grow.

We need to elect legislators who are willing to do what is needed to improve our education system, not just what is best for their political careers.


 

UPDATED to correct an error. Not all the Republicans in the House voted against expanding full day kindergarten as previously reported.  Eight Republicans voted for the bill, however all of the votes against the bill were Republicans.

New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Mann for State Representative

IMG_1613 - press pic

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans has chosen to endorse Maureen Mann in the May 19 special election for State Representative in Rockingham District 32. Our mission statement states that we “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.” 

As we have noted in our letter of endorsement to Ms. Mann, she epitomizes the values that we hold dear.

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, representing more than 13,000 retirees, older Americans, and community activists throughout our great state of New Hampshire, endorses your candidacy for State Representative for Rockingham District 32, the towns of Candia, Deerfield, Northwood and Nottingham.

Your positions demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for all New Hampshire citizens.  Your proven track record in the New Hampshire House and your unwavering dedication to economic and social justice have earned you the respect of your neighbors, constituents and our organization. 

We thank you for co-sponsoring HB 1555 during the 2014 legislative session.  This bill provides protection for seniors, disabled and impaired adults, making it a crime punishable by imprisonment to exploit them in any financial manner.   Your continued advocacy, leadership and ability to work across the aisle in the New Hampshire State House will ensure that quality of life programs will be around for current and future generations.  Your involvement in your community, including cooking and serving meals to Deerfield seniors, being a library trustee and helping to start The Forum, a newspaper that has for 10 years provided local news to the four towns in Rockingham 32, has helped to make this area a better place to live.

In closing, our members support your candidacy because you have proved that you will work to protect the rights of all our citizens and to safeguard our environment. If we can be of assistance, please contact Lucy Edwards, President of New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.  We congratulate you on earning our endorsement.

Lucy Edwards, President                                            Jane Lang, Executive Vice President

Sylvia Gale: Republicans In The NH House Push An Immoral Budget

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

By Sylvia Gale, Nashua

March “came in like a lion” with yet another round of snowy storms, but as the old adage goes, “went out like a lamb” with calm and sunny skies and the promise of warmer temperatures to stay with us very soon. But as the State Budget develops in Concord, there is nothing calm about the ongoing discussion and dissent about how our State Government will serve all of our citizens over the next two years.

Every two years the process is the same. First the Governor develops her proposed biennial budget in February, when it is then offered to the House Finance Committee where sometimes a few and sometimes many changes are made to the proposed state spending plans for the next two years. By the end of March, the full House gets to vote on these proposals, and, when passed by the House the budget then transfers to the Senate Finance Committee for further review and adjustment. More often than not, the Senate-passed version is different from the House-passed version which leads to the Committee of Conference process filled with fraught and frenzy with the ultimate goal to get a balanced budget (which it must be by law) passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor in place before the start of the new Fiscal Year on July 1.

For several weeks all eyes have been on the House Finance Committee as those 25 members have “toiled and troubled” for many, many hours (even meeting all day on one Sunday!) over their task of budget development. It would appear that many on the Committee chose to ignore much of what the Governor had proposed, and seem to have chosen a path of doing and then redoing even their own work when certain proposals met with huge disfavor among members of the majority party that controls this year’s budget process.

Starting with vastly and unnecessarily reduced revenue estimates, big and then bigger reductions were made in the Dept. of Transportation, which, if enacted, would lead to more than 300 highway, bridge, and roads workers being laid off. This would create vast shortages and limitations in that Department’s ability to build, maintain, and repair our state roads and bridges, as well as the capacity to keep our roads and highways treated and plowed when inclement weather makes travel unsafe otherwise. Some on the Committee hinted that this situation might be alleviated were the “gas tax” to be increased again (just raised last year by 4 ½ cents/gallon- first increase since 1991) but made it clear that they certainly would not be the ones to propose such a “solution”. This proposal was offered to the full House on March 24 as a “non-germane amendment to another bill, and went down in such a resounding defeat that the entire House Finance Committee was re-convened to come up with yet another proposal, No, not the entire Committee, just the majority party members of the Finance Committee who met behind closed doors privately until the next day.

On Wednesday, April 1, the entire House voted on what House Finance proposed, and the “Jasper-O’Brien Budget” was passed, strictly along party lines. At this point the Senate leadership has already declared that what they have seen of this budget proposal is quite unacceptable, so they have already started to craft another one “from scratch”.

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

Voices from across the state are being heard in strong opposition to much of what is contained in the House-passed budget document, officially titled HB 1. It would appear that no human need has gone without being adversely effected by needless and unnecessary program reductions and eliminations that would result from implementation of this proposed budget plan. Funding for community supports and services which currently keep hundreds of frail elderly and persons living with disabilities in their own homes would be gutted, likely requiring many of those individuals to be transferred into institutional care settings, a vastly more expensive option.

Many of the House-passed budget proposals would impact the delicately crafted court settlements and collective bargaining contracts and likely result in even more costly and protracted court battles in order to re-settle issues related to hospital reimbursements for uncompensated care, mental health services and treatment, employee salaries and benefits, programs and services for our incarcerated populations, and others.

On Wednesday, April 1, there was a large presence of multi-denominational faith leaders from throughout NH, as well as a vast gathering of consumers, advocates, activists, and concerned citizens at the NH State House all raising their voices and bringing their messages to members of the NH House declaring that this budget is harmful unnecessarily inhumane, and destructive, and demanding that House members “Fix It Now” by voting “No” on HB1 so that an alternative budget proposal could be brought forward.

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

NH Voices of Faith Prayer Vigil (April 1 2015, Image Janice Kelble)

This ill-fated budget proposal has now moved on to the Senate, and of course we are all optimistic that the Senate “will do better”. But shouldn’t the Greater Nashua Representatives who did not vote in the best interests of their constituents be held accountable for their “votes of allegiance” to the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity at the expense of the rest of us?

The Telegraph has been providing useful reference information of late to help readers find their respective Representatives and Senators, and voting records for all are readily available on-line at nh.gov.

NH House Republicans Push Through Their Immoral Reckless Budget

 

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Today hundreds of Granite Staters filled the State Capitol building holding signs and asking legislators to oppose these reckless cuts to the New Hampshire budget.  Labor leaders, community activists and concerned citizens delivered over 800 signed petitions opposing these reckless budget cuts.

“A budget is a statement of our priorities as a community and in that sense it is an expression of our values,” explained the Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, President of the NH Council of Churches and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church. “Our faith leads us to pay attention to the common good, not just to the interests of individuals. Our faith calls for a budget that is fair and just.”

One area of the proposed budget cuts that drew outrage today were the cuts to social programs to help people overcome their additions to drugs and alcohol. Hundred gathered and participated in a “die in” on the State House steps. (Images above of the ‘die in’ courtesy of Steve Kloppenburg)

Their voices and concerns were ignored as the House Republicans pushed through their budget with devastating cuts to a variety of state programs.

“In amending the House Finance Committee-recommended budget that already hurt families, undermined business growth and took our economy backward, Republicans in the House of Representatives managed today to make a reckless budget even worse,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. (Full Statement Here)

“To gain the support of Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers, House Republicans passed a budget today that is so extreme that even the Republican House Finance Chair admitted that our state would suffer if it were actually enacted,” said Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

“The House did a fantastic job of making New Hampshire more free market and more competitive, and forth and for most it takes out all the tax increases,” said AFP State Director Greg Moore in an press conference last week.

During the debate on the House floor Representative William O’Brien, who pushed a similar budget cuts through the House in 2011 when he was Speaker, offered an amendment to raid the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to find extra money to make their budget work.

“From raiding dedicated funds to downshifting costs onto local communities, the O’Brien-Jasper budget proves once again that New Hampshire Republicans can’t be taken seriously on fiscal responsibility,” said Buckley. “Possibly the most fiscally irresponsible action in the O’Brien-Jasper budget deal — and that’s saying something — is O’Brien’s floor amendment to empty the state’s rainy day fund.”

“As lawmakers entered the State House, today they were greeted by hundreds of protesters decrying the O’Brien-Jasper budget’s drastic cuts. But instead of listening to the outcry from every corner of the state, O’Brien and Jasper decided to wipe out the state’s rainy day fund and threaten a credit downgrade to make even deeper cuts, including cutting funding for community colleges, further cutting our already strained corrections system, and laying off nurses at New Hampshire hospital,” continued Buckley.

“Voters will not stand for the fiscally irresponsible Jasper-O’Brien budget that empties the state’s rainy day fund, raids dedicated funds, slashes critical economic priorities for small businesses and middle class families, and downshifts costs onto local property taxpayers,” concluded Buckley.

One of the budget tactics used by Republicans to fund their disastrous budget would reverse the pay increased negotiated by the State Employees Association. These are the same workers who are now facing the potential of massive layoffs.

“When I was a child growing up in NH, the state leaders were fiscally conservative and responsible,” said Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “The legislature was primarily Republican and when need be, they would find ways to raise revenue for items our state’s citizens needed and there was a good balance between revenue and spending. That is no longer the case.”

The Tea Party extremists have taken over the House and refuse to raise revenues even though the state desperately needs it.

“The members of SEA/SEIU 1984 want our state to be a safe place for everyone to live, work, and prosper. The NH House budget does not promote these priorities – it disrupts them,” wrote the State Employees Association. “Even though they did not prevail, we salute the legislators who voted in favor of funding the state employees’ contract.”

“While today’s vote was gravely disappointing, we now look to the NH Senate to prepare a budget that is frugal yet reasonable and responsible,” concluded the SEA.

Community groups and fiscal watchdogs were quick to blast Republicans in the House for passing this budget that is guaranteed to harm our state and our economy.

“The House version of the budget is foolhardy and shortsighted. It unnecessarily pits important state priorities against one another rather than making real investments in our community, our infrastructure, and our people,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “It kicks the can down the road on identifying reasonable revenue sources that ensure the wealthy and corporations are paying their fair share, and it turns its back on programs that, if funded today, will save our state money in the long run.”

“The House budget pits vital public services against one another in an attempt to achieve a misguided sense of balance. This budget puts many of our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk, forcing cities and towns — and local taxpayers – to take on greater responsibilities and to face higher costs in the long run,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. (Full Statement Here)

Now we look to the New Hampshire Senate to see how they blend their two proposals together and craft the budget for the next two years. We already know that the Senate passed a business tax reduction that gives away millions to businesses while force deeper cuts to state agencies.

Will the Senate find a way to fix the cuts proposed by the House, or will they bend to the Tea Party extremists and force New Hampshire backwards?

 

Related article and recommended reading:

Republican Budget Cuts In New Hampshire Provoke Backlash From Clergy

 

Senate Democrats Blast House Budget

Democrats Stand Ready to Work Across Party Lines to Pass a Fiscally Responsible Budget that Expands Opportunity for All

Concord, NH – Following the passage of the House Budget, Senate Democrats released the following comments:

“The budget passed the House passed today is not a budget at all—its just a naked appeal to the Koch Brothers and the extremist Bill O’Brien wing of the Republican Party,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “The way forward is for the Senate to reject the House’s irresponsible approach and work across party lines, with the Governor’s fiscally responsible plan as a guide, to build on our bipartisan progress over the past two years and seize our state’s full economic potential. Senate Democrats stand ready to work across party lines in order to pass an honest budget, without back-of-the-budget cuts or other budgetary gimmicks, that expands opportunity for all, supports businesses throughout our state, and lays the foundation for a new generation of economic growth.”

“The House budget is unacceptable and now the Senate has to work together to fix it,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, ranking Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It slashes decades-old programs, long supported by practical leaders of both parties. Not to mention that it would threaten our bond rating by emptying the state’s rainy day fund. Between cutting funding for substance misuse during an opioid crisis, reducing services that allow seniors to stay in their communities, and downshifting costs onto local property taxpayers, its no wonder we’ve heard from people all over the state that the House budget is wrong for New Hampshire.”

“The fact that the Koch Brothers endorsed the O’Brien-Jasper budget proves just how bad the House budget is for New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy,” said Sen. Andrew Hosmer, member of the Senate Finance Committee. “We know that it’s possible to make strategic investments in the critical priorities that must be met for our people, businesses and economy to thrive while living within our means. I hope that the Senate Republican majority will join with us to again invest in our shared priorities as we did in the last bipartisan budget.”

Governor Hassan’s Statement on House Budget Vote

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today issued the following statement on the budget vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives:

“In amending the House Finance Committee-recommended budget that already hurt families, undermined business growth and took our economy backward, Republicans in the House of Representatives managed today to make a reckless budget even worse. Their wildly irresponsible budget includes drastic reductions to services that are critical to our people and businesses, further downshifting on local property taxpayers, the raiding of the dedicated Renewable Energy Fund, continued budget gimmicks that mislead people about what we actually are funding, and the depletion of our Rainy Day Fund, which threatens our state’s financial outlook and bond rating.

“We know that our people and businesses support strategic investments in critical priorities that help ensure a strong and healthy workforce pipeline, a modern transportation infrastructure, and safe communities, but this harmful plan makes significant reductions to higher education, aid to local communities, road and bridge projects across the state, and critical services for seniors, substance misuse, mental health, and people who experience developmental disabilities. And by ending our bipartisan health care expansion program, the House Republican budget would eliminate health coverage for more than 37,000 hard-working Granite Staters.

“Not only would these reductions downshift responsibility to local property taxpayers, but they have a significant impact on our people, businesses and economic future, affecting areas that are critical to the health and well-being of our people and our economic competitiveness. They would make higher education more expensive, threaten to shut down local road and bridge projects, place an additional strain on our corrections officers, and harm the health and well-being of our families and workforce.

“It is still early in the process of finalizing a fiscally responsible, balanced budget, and I urge the Senate to take a different approach and recognize that we must work across party lines to pass a responsible budget that supports the priorities that matter to our people, businesses and economy. Senate Republicans cannot follow the path of their House counterparts and simply cater to the most extreme members of their party at the expense of common-sense and fiscal responsibility. The families, businesses and hard-working people of the Granite State deserve better than that.

“Two years ago, we worked together to pass the most bipartisan budget in more than a decade, and we must build on that progress by doing the responsible thing and making a bipartisan investment in the success of our people, our businesses and our economy.”

House Approved Budget Puts Vulnerable Citizens, State’s Future at Risk

 CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives today approved its version of the FY 2016-2017 budget, which would provide nearly $150 million less in General and Education Funds than the Governor’s proposed budget for funding state needs over the biennium.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute issued the following statement:

“The House budget pits vital public services against one another in an attempt to achieve a misguided sense of balance. This budget puts many of our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk, forcing cities and towns — and local taxpayers – to take on greater responsibilities and to face higher costs in the long run,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch.

“The fact remains that New Hampshire’s revenue system has not fully recovered since the start of the recession. Rather than exploring modest, sensible options to increase available revenue, the House has once again resorted to short-term fixes that threaten the state’s long-term success. Raiding the Renewable Energy Fund and draining the Rainy Day Fund is neither sound fiscal policy nor an effective way to win the trust of citizens and businesses.”

“Leaving hundreds of millions in federal dollars on the table, including more than $200 million for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, will put citizens at risk and push the state further behind,” added McLynch. “Failure to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program will deny 37,000 citizens access to affordable health coverage, coverage that improves health outcomes, reduces costs in other areas of the budget, and lowers uncompensated care costs.”

“This budget forces false choices. We do not have to choose among a safe transportation system, affordable higher education, and vital human services. If the state is to attract new residents and new businesses and do right by those that are already here, then we need to invest in a strong, healthy New Hampshire that offers a high quality of life for everyone.”

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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