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Andy and Laurie Sanborn Failed to Pay Their Property Taxes At Least 25 Times in 20 Years

Image from Senator Andy Sanborn on Facebook

Sanborns have a steady history of failing to pay their taxes on time, with at least 25 tax liens against their private homes and businesses over the last 20 years 

Concord, NH – State Senator Andy Sanborn and State Representative Laurie Sanborn failed to pay their property taxes at least 25 times over the past twenty years, according to research by Granite State Progress. The Sanborns have had dozens of tax liens placed against their private homes and businesses over the past two decades.

“Andy and Laurie Sanborn failed to pay their property taxes at least 25 times over the past twenty years,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Those numbers are from Merrimack and Cheshire County alone as we have yet to even look at other areas of the state where they lived and worked. The Sanborn’s record of business bankruptcy, district hopping to run for political office, close relationships with the Free State Project, and now at least 25 tax liens in twenty years calls into question whether they are fit to represent New Hampshire.”

Not only have the Sanborns been delinquent on their taxes numerous times, they have feigned ignorance on at least two occasions when media outlets pointed it out. In May 2012, when questioned about tax liens against the Concord Monitor, Andy Sanborn said: “Honestly, I don’t know how we missed them, but we missed them. . . . We made a mistake and we corrected it today.”  Laurie Sanborn used the same line in February 2012 about a tax lien on a parking lot she owns, telling the Concord Monitor that she was unaware of a tax lien they questioned her about: “’I don’t know anything about that. Obviously, I’ll be taking care of that right away.” [Concord Monitor, “Tax liens peppered across city Unpaid taxes for 2011: $1.67 million.” 5.29.12;]

A 26-page list documenting examples of when the Sanborns failed to pay their property taxes is here.

Local Economy PAC Announces “All About Andy” Campaign to Introduce Voters to the Real Andy Sanborn

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.47.53 AM

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.47.53 AM

Campaign will educate Senate District 9 voters about Sanborn’s extreme voting record, money ties, and business dealings 

Peterborough, NH – A new campaign dubbed “All About Andy” will use mail, paid advertising, direct voter contact, and online activities to introduce voters across Senate District 9 to the real Andy Sanborn in the run-up to the November 4 election. The campaign and a related microsite, www.allaboutandy.org, were announced this morning by Strong Local Economies NH, a state political committee formed by New Hampshire residents to advance a proactive local economy agenda for New Hampshire.

“Andy Sanborn wants District 9 voters to believe he’s a bipartisan compromiser. But based on his voting record, he’s the most extreme member of the New Hampshire Senate – and votes don’t lie,” said Molly Cowan, chair of Strong Local Economies NH. “When we scored and graded every senator on local economy votes in our Local Economy Report Card, Sanborn earned an F grade and a score of just 27% – far below every other senator, Republican or Democrat.”

The Local Economy Report Card, released in September, found Sanborn voted against helping unemployed people start small businesses, against expanding access to affordable health coverage for 50,000 uninsured New Hampshire residents, and against multiple bills aimed at combating the corruption of the political process by big money that stacks the deck in favor of out-of-state big business interests at the expense of local, home-grown small businesses, among other things. The full report card is available online at: http://bit.ly/NHLocalEconomyReportCard

“Republicans and Democrats across District 9 are joining in opposition to Sanborn not only because of his failing grades on local economy issues, but also because of serious questions about his values and his judgment raised by his financial ties and business dealings,” Cowan said. “The ‘All About Andy’ campaign will highlight these questions and bring a reality check to Sanborn’s claims about bipartisanship. Because in reality, the only thing that’s bipartisan about Andy Sanborn is his opposition.”

Follow the “All About Andy” campaign sponsored by Strong Local Economies NH here:

Website: www.allaboutandy.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LocalEconomyNH

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StrongLocalEconomiesNH

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire back Maureen Manning for NH Senate

Maureen Manning

Maureen ManningManchester – Today fire fighters from NH Senate District 16 gathered proudly to endorse Maureen Manning in her campaign for State Senate.  The PFFNH believe that Maureen Manning is the best choice to represent the people of Senate District 16 – towns of Bow, Candia, Hooksett, Dunbarton, and Manchester Wards 1, 2 &12.

“Maureen Manning has been a leader in Manchester, and will continue to lead when she is in the Senate. Maureen has the experience and expertise to insure that fire fighters have the tools they need to do their jobs,” stated Jeff Duval, Manchester L#856 President. “She has always fought for fire fighters, and will never stop fighting for the people of the district. We look forward to continue working with Maureen when she is in the Senate.”

“Maureen Manning is the best choice for State Senate here is District 16, because she has proven that she will be committed to fire fighters and to public employees. She will never turn her backs on fire fighters or on doing what is right in order to keep New Hampshire a great place to work and live. Maureen Manning is a candidate that is long overdue for this district, and we are honored to endorse her for NH Senate,” stated Tobey Gamache, Hooksett L#3264 President.

“I’m honored to have the support of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every day to keep New Hampshire families safe. The PFFNH, and the IAFF local unions in the district, have endorsed my campaign because they know that I have built my career standing up for New Hampshire families and that I am the only candidate in this race with the courage to stand up for them in Concord,” said Maureen Manning.

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, headquartered in Concord, NH represents more than 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics from 43 locals across the state.  More information is available at www.pffnh.org. Follow us on twitter @pffnh

Concord Fire Fighters: Feltes best to respond & protect middle class families


Editor’s Note: This is a guest editorial from Jim Duckworth of the Concord Fire Department.


Dan Feltes at endorsement by the Professional Fire Fighters of NH

As Fire Fighters and Paramedics, we are charged to respond and protect the citizens, workers, and visitors here in the Capital City. We do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We see each and every part of our city at all hours of the day and night. And when we are called, we do not ask if someone is rich or poor, old or young, or what neighborhood they are from. We just respond to the situation using our training and talents, and try to leave the situation better than when we found it.

We are supporting Dan Feltes in the Senate District 15 race, because he has made it clear that he will legislate with this same outlook when he is our State Senator. He understands that it doesn’t matter who the citizen is, their background, or socioeconomic status; if they need help, he must do his best to help them. Dan not only has the same prospective as we do, but he has the training and talent to back it up. As a State Senator you must bring to that position your life experiences, vision, and passion to make sure that our government is there to help people and is responsive to their needs.

Dan Feltes has made it clear who he will stand up for when he is elected to the Senate, and that is the people of Senate District 15. Dan’s track record has shown that he works for, and supports, the people who need him. That is the reason the Concord fire fighters are supporting Dan. We understand that in emergencies people count on us, and nothing else matters to us besides getting people out of danger. That’s Dan Feltes’s priority as well; respond to people in need.

As an attorney for New Hampshire Legal Assistance for the last eight years, Dan Feltes has impacted and made better the lives of countless low to middle income families, seniors, and veterans. Most of these people did not have the resources to take care of the situation themselves, but he responded to their circumstance regardless. Dan Feltes was their advocate. Dan Feltes was their voice.

As fire fighters we are never really sure what the next emergency will bring us or how challenging it will be. Challenges that face our state are no different: from our infrastructure, to educating our children, to caring for our seniors, and to ensuring a growing and thriving middle class. These challenges require the best and brightest to work together to achieve positive results and help move everyone in this city, and our state, forward. As our Senator, Dan Feltes will go to work every day with the people of this district as his motivation to do better by them, because that is what they deserve from those that represent them.

Dan is the progressive candidate that will be the voice of our citizens. We know Dan will advocate passionately for the values, programs, and policies that will make a stronger middle class in New Hampshire. He is ready to respond, and we know he will fight tirelessly to protect the people of our district. We know that Dan will not leave anyone behind. And we know that he will leave New Hampshire better than he found it.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Duckworth President, Concord IAFF L#1045

The Professional Fire Fighters Of NH Back Dan Feltes For NH Senate



CONCORD – Today the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire endorsed Dan Feltes for State Senate in District 15, the towns of Concord, Hopkinton, Henniker, and Warner. Members from the Concord Local #1045 and Concord Officers Local #3195 came out to support this endorsement. The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire represent over 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics from 43 locals across the state.

feltes3“We know that Dan will be a fighter for our issues here in the district and throughout the state. The Senate needs leaders who will look out for middle class families, and Dan is that candidate,” stated Mark Hebert, President of Concord Officers local #3195.

“Dan Feltes understands what it takes for working families across this state to thrive, and we know he will never turn his back on fire fighters, or on doing what is best for public safety. His priorities and experiences will serve us well in the New Hampshire Senate,” stated Jim Duckworth, President of Concord Local #1045.

“I’m honored to gain the support of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.  We share the same values when it comes to believing that in order to move New Hampshire forward, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. I will always fight to put working families first and be a dedicated voice for strong public safety,” said Dan Feltes.

NH’s Largest Public Labor Union Endorses Dan Feltes for State Senate


SEIU 1984 LogoConcord – The SEA/ SEIU Local 1984 Executive Board endorsed Dan Feltes (Democrat/Concord) for the New Hampshire State Senate.  Feltes is running for the District 15 seat that has been held by long-time Senator Sylvia Larsen who announced her retirement earlier this year.

Late last month, Feltes met with the union’s Political Education Committee where he clearly described his reason for running and his vision for a state legislature that is responsive to the needs of the hard working men and women in his district.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members were impressed by Feltes’ commitment to moving all working families forward in New Hampshire.  “Dan’s passion and selfless dedication to helping others is demonstrated by his work with New Hampshire Legal Assistance,” said Ken Roos 1st Vice President of the labor union and chair of the Political Education committee.   “We appreciate his work ethic and we are confident he will bring progressive ideas to ongoing challenges facing so many families across the state.”

The labor organization’s leaders also believe Feltes is postured to be a positive contributing member of the NH Senate because of his work to help bring the reality of affordable housing to workers who are struggling to make their paychecks stretch from month to month.  Diana Lacey, President said “Dan Feltes is prepared to lead beginning day one in the senate and will work each and every day to make a real difference for New Hampshire.”  Lacey also cited Feltes’ history of working well with members of both political parties to get things done.

His support for early education, expanding opportunities for working families to do more than just keep their head above water, and his commitment to face every challenge with the energy and intensity to actually fix problems rather than kick the can down the road, make Dan Feltes the right candidate in both the primary and general election.  “Through our lengthy conversation with Feltes,” said Roos, “it was crystal clear to us that he sees there is much more work to do and we believe Dan Feltes is the best candidate to represent the voters in Concord, Hopkinton, Henniker and Warner.

With the need to find solutions to state infrastructure deficiencies, the next election will present voters with critical decisions to either move forward or continue pushing off problems until they become more expensive and unfixable.  With today’s endorsement of Dan Feltes, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is saying fix the problems today.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

The State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire represents about 11,500 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State.  First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975.  Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers.  The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984.  With 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.

New Hampshire House Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United


Written on May 15, 2014

Note: Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted with bipartisan support to pass by a 2-to-1 margin an amended version of SB 307 that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are finally responding to the people’s call to rein in the torrent of money that is flowing into our political system. We applaud them for it, and we urge Senate lawmakers to follow suit.

In March, the state Senate moved forward SB 307 as a hollow bill that created a committee to examine the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation. But it did not explicitly recognize the need for a constitutional amendment. Citizens United gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

Today, the House voted to pass a version of SB 307 that includes language specifically calling for a constitutional amendment. This is in line with what the people of New Hampshire have been calling on their elected officials to do.

In March, residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling. And the momentum is still building. On Tuesday, both Hanover and Peterborough passed town resolutions calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned. On Wednesday, New London and Sanbornton passed similar resolutions. This brings to 52 the number of New Hampshire towns calling for a resolution this year.

The bill will head to conference committee where the Senate now has a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended language. If passed, New Hampshire would become the 17th state to call for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

View more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.

In Voting Against The Minimum Wage Increase, The Only Person NH Sen Andy Sanborn Is Voting For Is Andy Sanborn

Screen Shot GSP Video  Andy Sanborn

As an elected representative of the people, State Senator Andy Sanborn, should be working for the people, however his vote appear to tell a different story.

Last week the NH Senate voted against raising the minimum wage to $9.00 over the next two years.  Senator Sanborn spoke out against the minimum wage increase as a “job killer.” Sanborn stated, “How many jobs are going to exist in the State of NH, if there are no more employers?” Sanborn even went as far to say that raising the minimum wage ignites a “war on employers.

You can see his entire statement in this video:

Senator Sanborn knows a lot about how business works, so that means we should listen to him on this right?

Sanborn currently owns “The Draft” a sports bar where servers make the NH tipped minimum wage ($3.13 per hour), and other workers make a little more than minimum wage.

Personally I do not understand how Senator Sanborn did not at least declare a conflict of interest on the minimum wage vote, seeing that one could interpret his vote as protecting his own profits rather than representing his constituents (keep in mind 76% of Granite Staters support the legislation).  That is because Senator Sanborn is really doing what he does best, looking out for himself.

In late 2004 and early 2005 Andy and his wife (Rep) Laurie Sanborn were the owners of Banagan’s, a chain of bike and ski shops throughout New Hampshire.  The ultimate small business owner’s dream, a growing business and expanding to multiple stores.  Except that in 2005, Sanborn was forced into court after Banagan’s filed bankruptcy.   Sanborn and his company left his supplier holding the bag for over $600,000 dollars in claims.  The settlement allowed Sanborn to use the money from his “going out of business sale” to pay off part of his business debts.

The Concord Monitor reported on the story in 2008 and spoke with Jack White, the Nashua lawyer who took Banagan’s to bankruptcy court on behalf of four equipment dealers.

“White isn’t convinced that even Sanborn believed he could pay all his debts with a closing sale. He said he thinks Sanborn’s main goal was, instead, to make enough money in the closing sale to pay off his bank loan, for which he was personally liable. Once the case landed in bankruptcy court, White said, the bank had to stand in line for payment along with the other companies owed money. And Sanborn became responsible for any part of the bank loan left unpaid.” (emphasis added)

The Concord Monitor also reported that Banagan’s would only end up paying $31,000 of the over $600,000 they owed to equipment suppliers.

Thankfully Banagan’s had enough money in the bank to pay back the personal loans Andy took out for the business, otherwise he would not have been able to open The Draft restaurant.

Prior to the opening of The Draft, Sanborn said he spent over $100,000 on televisions alone.

Somehow Sanborn had $100,000 to buy televisions for his new business, but only had $31,000 to pay his previous business suppliers.

Now the Sanborns, a State Senator, and a State Rep (wife Laurie), are vehemently opposed to raising the minimum wage knowing full well an increase would effect their businesses bottom line.

The Sanborns are doing what is best for them, and ignoring what the people of New Hampshire want and agree is best for the state.

NH Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Increase (Statement by Granite State Progress)

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Politician making $185,000 a year first to object to raising the wage for state’s lowest income earners

CONCORD, NH – The NH Senate voted 13-11 on party lines today to kill HB 1403, raising the state minimum wage. Statement from Granite State Progress:

“A Senate Republican making $185,000 a year called the minimum wage bill ‘feel good legislation’ but refused to spend even one day living in the shoes of his constituents who makes less than ten percent of his salary, even when they are working full-time,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, in reference to Senator Peter Bragdon’s opening remarks. “Senator Bradley chose to use industry talking points instead of rely on economic data, and Senator Sanborn voted against the bill without disclosing the conflict of interest that he pays some of his workers minimum wage.”

“In contrast, several Senate Democrats took the Minimum Wage Challenge to live on minimum wage before voting on this bill. That experience illustrated for them the lack of affordable housing options, the slim budgets, and the constant anxiety that a minimum wage earner lives with every day. Questions about how to put gas in your tank and food on the table become very real when you don’t have a $185,000 golden salary to live on. Minimum wage earners work hard and play by the rules, but Senate Republicans sent a message loud and clear that they don’t care,” Rice Hawkins said.

In an online poll yesterday Granite State Progress asked whether Senate Republicans would table the bill, vote it down immediately, or vote it down after making misleading arguments. Option C won online and in reality. Below is a round-up of key political statements from today’s floor debate:

Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford called the bill “feel good legislation”. Bragdon signed a contract this week for an $185,000 per year job.

Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro said that raising the wage would harm teenagers and entry level workers. In New Hampshire, 72 percent of minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old and have real breadwinner responsibilities. Bradley has previously refused to answer whether he believes in a minimum wage at all.

Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford claimed that raising the minimum wage would harm small businesses, particularly restaurants. Sanborn did not mention that he pays minimum wage to some of his workers at The Draft – nor did he declare a conflict of interest before voting against the bill.

Previously … Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield told the Laconia Citizen he “thinks it’s ‘silly’ to say that someone couldn’t be supported on minimum wage as they can take on multiple jobs.”

In contrast, Senate Democrats spent an hour urging their colleagues to support the bill: 

Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord called the legislation “one of the most important issues this session.”

Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators you must “walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you make you decision.” Of the experience he said: “The minimum wage challenge produced such anxiety for me … I was shaken by the experience.”

Sen. David Watters, D-Dover also took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators:

“Taking the Minimum Wage Challenge this week, it quickly became obvious to me that I couldn’t live and work in Dover without public support for food and housing.  The usual amount provided for food is $37.75 a week, so I went to Janetos, a local downtown market where people without transportation can shop at good prices, and, given the kind of community Dover is, everyone feels welcome and accepted.  $5.45 a day meant careful meal planning. A loaf of bread, peanut butter, eggs, lots of potatoes and pasta, a can of tomatoes, some cheese, two pieces of chicken, a head of broccoli, carrots, milk, and toiletries.  As the funds dwindled, I felt that anxiety of not having enough, putting things back on the shelf, buying by lowest price for a smaller quantity, and seeing that any staple, such as flour, oil, coffee, would mean not enough food for meals.  In planning for one peanut butter sandwich a day for lunch, I recalled when I was working in a factory or in construction filling my lunch box with four to six sandwiches, fruit, cookies, milk, and eating every crumb to keep up strength for hard work.  There’s just not enough to keep body and soul together …

Everyday experiences become a crisis on minimum wage.  I had some surgery this week—would Medicaid have covered the procedure and the $25.00 copay, or would I have had to put it off, try to ignore the problem, and hope for the best?  Or when to fill the tank, looking for a gas station with prices a few pennies less, and seeing the $40.13 it cost just to get to work for a week meant 5-1/2 hours of pay. My old car’s due for an oil change, too. Every day becomes an emergency when the tank runs low.

Video of Sen. Watters participating in the Minimum Wage Challenge grocery shopping trip is below.

Granite State Rumblings: We Must Increase The Minimum Wage And Details Of Sen. Watters Min Wage Challenge


The state minimum wage bill (HB1403) comes before the full Senate this Thursday, May 8th. HB 1403 would increase the state’s minimum wage in two steps, $8.25 per hour in 2015 and then to $9.00 per hour in 2016, and then ensure that it keeps pace with the cost of living moving forward.

minimum wageThis is an important piece of legislation for Granite State workers as they struggle to make ends meet each and every day. Raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour by 2016 would increase the wages, either directly or indirectly, of nearly 76,000 New Hampshire workers, resulting in an additional $64 million in wages, in the aggregate, being put into the state’s economy over the next two years. (source; NHFPI)

NH District 04 Senator, David Watters, saw how difficult it is to live on a minimum wage job when he took part in the Minimum Wage Challenge this past weekend in Dover with ECM-NH’s Field Director, MacKenzie Flessas. (See photos and read about it in Growing Up Granite below).

Over the past several months, five states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, and West Virginia – have enacted legislation to increase their minimum wages, according to an article posted by the NH Fiscal Policy Institute.

The report continues by informing us that Delaware’s wage standard will soon begin climbing towards $8.25 an hour, West Virginia’s will grow to $8.75 per hour, and, for some Minnesota employers, the wage floor will be set at $9.50 per hour. In Connecticut and Maryland, the minimum wage will eventually reach $10.10 per hour. As a result, by 2016, half of the states and the District of Columbia will have minimum wages above the current federal standard of $7.25 per hour.

It is important to note that those states that have – or will have – a minimum wage in excess of the federal level tend to have something in common: a relatively high cost of living, as does New Hampshire.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s (MERIC) research indicates that the cost of living in New Hampshire was close to 21 percent above the national average in 2013, driven principally by housing, utility, and health costs. The NHFPI article quotes The National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s recent Out of Reach report confirming how difficult it can be to meet some of these costs in the Granite State. It finds that New Hampshire was the 11th most expensive state in the country for renters in 2014.

As NHFPI Executive Director, Jeff McLynch pointed out in is testimony before the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee in February, “ in considering an increase in New Hampshire’s minimum wage, two claims are commonly made in opposition.  Neither have merit.”

“First, some maintain that the primary beneficiaries of any minimum wage increase would be teenagers.  ….an analysis of Current Population Survey data by the Economic Policy Institute reveals that 72 percent of the workers who would see a wage increase from a $9.00 per hour minimum wage are adults.  For many low-wage workers, their job is not a “starter” position or a “foot in the door.”  For many of them, their personal economic circumstances demand that they take whatever job they can find, simply to put a roof over their head, a jacket on their back, and food on the table – either just for themselves or for their family.”

“Second, others have argued, in keeping with traditional criticisms, that raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage will reduce employment.  Needless to say, this question has been explored for decades, but the most recent, high quality studies on the relationship between state minimum wages and employment levels find little evidence to suggest that raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage will produce large-scale job losses.  For instance, a 2010 study conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts, the University of North Carolina, and the University of California examined state minimum wage increases during the period from 1990 to 2006 using data from nearly 300 bordering counties that had differentials in their minimum wages.  It concludes that: ‘[Our] estimates suggest no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States…’”
See more at: http://www.nhfpi.org/research/nhfpi-testifies-support-increase-nh-minimum-wage.html#sthash.e2pklkci.dpuf

Every Child Matters in New Hampshire agrees with the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, our partner organizations in the Raise the Wage coalition and 76% of Granite State residents that it is time to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire. Doing so will help families make ends meet, boost sales at businesses across the State, and put New Hampshire on a path towards an economy that works for everyone.

If you agree, please call your Senator today and let him/her know to support HB1403 on Thursday.

The Minimum Wage Challenge


ECM – NH Field Director MacKenzie Flessas and State Senator David Watters

This past weekend, Senator David Watters (District 4-Dover) and I sat down to talk about the challenges that families who are living on minimum wage face everyday in our state. The weekly wage for a minimum wage worker who works full-time is $290 before taxes.

Senator Watters was given a worksheet to divide his weekly expenses given his new minimum wage income. For the purpose of this exercise, it was assumed that Sen. Watters was currently receiving Food Stamps as a single person. The maximum amount of this assistance is $5.45 per day.

So we went into the grocery store with a budget of $38.10 (a week’s worth of Food Stamps benefits)

We began in the Produce section. While looking at the fresh vegetables, Sen. Watters said “I know I need vegetables, but I’m not sure if I can afford it yet.” I followed him around the store as he tried to make a meal plan for the week, settling for meals like eggs, bread and peanut butter, and pasta and sauce. At one point he was given the choice of feeding his cat or buying fresh vegetables. A compromise had to be made. One day a week of no food for his beloved cat would enable him to purchase broccoli. “Fresh food is too expensive for me.”

We checked out and came up with a total of $36.91. (84 cents under budget)  Senator Watters commented, “At times I just felt desperate. I no longer cared about brands, I only needed to look at prices.” He also recognized that he did not buy some essential items that he would need to purchase eventually, such as sugar, cooking oil, flour and dish soap.

And by the way, several of his purchases today are not allowable under the food stamps benefit: cat food, toothpaste, and shampoo, so they had to be paid for from his minimum wage earnings.

“I don’t know what I would do week after week, it would grind me down. It makes me understand what this is all about.”

As I reflect upon this challenge with Senator Watters, I think, what would families in our state do without these essential assistance programs? Even with the small amount of help that Sen. Watters was receiving during his Minimum Wage Challenge (housing assistance, heating assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid,) he was still not able to have a positive balance of money at the end of the month.

With more than 42,000 children in our state living in poverty, and for whom many of their families are making minimum wage or just above, I know that investing in an increase in minimum wage will give families the basic necessities that they need to grow healthy, productive children, which is an investment in New Hampshire’s future.


The full Senate will vote on the increase in Minimum Wage on Thursday May 8th. I urge our Senators to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our state, the 15.6% of children living in poverty, and vote Ought to Pass on the Minimum Wage increase, HB1403.

Thank you Senator Watters for having the courage to take the challenge.


To see what Senator Watters thought about the Minimum Wage Challenge view this YouTube Video.

Here is what Senator Watters bought with his weekly food allowance of $38.10:

Item Price  Balance
10lb bag potatoes $4.99 $32.76
3lb onions $2.89 $29.87
Carrots $1.50 $28.37
1/2 Gallon milk $2.59 $25.78
Eggs $1.89 $23.89
Bread $1.79 $22.10
2lbs Chicken $1.26 $20.84
1/2 lb Cheese $2.78 $18.06
Linguine $1.39 $16.67
Rotini $1.39 $15.28
Canned tomatoes $1.99 $13.29
Cat food $4.50 $8.79
Shampoo $1.49 $7.30
Toothpaste $1.49 $5.81
Peanut butter $2.89 $2.92
Broccoli $2.89 $0.03
$36.91 ended up being the total, so something might have been on sale. $.84 left over from Food Budget






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