• Click the image to find out more information about Jerry Stidman.
  • Advertisement

AFL-CIO Launches Online Ads Targeting Senators On A Variety Of Issues Including The TPP

Ads to Target Senate Candidates in Six States

To view ads click here: http://bit.ly/293dN2i

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Washington, DC) – Today the AFL-CIO launched the first round of ads in six key battleground states: Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida and Wisconsin. The ads are uniquely targeted to reach working people and draw attention to Senate candidates whose policies are against the interests of working families.

“Working people will be a force in this election,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “These ads are just one of the many tools we will use to speak to our members and the community about what’s at stake. Our job is to educate working families on the candidates who aspire to lead America. We will stand together with politicians who share our values and oppose those who do not.”

The ads will run initially on Facebook and drive traffic to specific petitions on issues that matter to working people, including restoring the Voting Rights Act, comprehensive immigration reform, infrastructure investment and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Granite Stater Among A Dozen Young Leaders In Washington Calling On Senate To “Do Your Job”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Young Leaders Join Members of Congress to tell Senators: #DoYourJob

Yesterday, national youth-led and youth-serving organizations released an open letter to U.S. Senators calling for fair consideration for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

At the press conference releasing the letter today at the Supreme Court, young leaders from across the country joined members of Congress and discussed why Senator Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, needs to do his job and schedule hearings and a vote for Judge Garland instead of engaging in unprecedented partisan obstruction. Speakers also shared what’s at stake for young people in the Supreme Court vacancy fight.

“It’s energizing to see so many young leaders at the front of the growing chorus of voices urging Senate leaders to do their job and provide a fair process for the consideration of Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” said Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). “The decisions made at the Supreme Court don’t just impact us today, they impact generations to come. That’s why it’s so important that the Senate do its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent by giving Merrick Garland a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.”

“It’s been more than three months now since a vacancy opened on the U.S. Supreme Court, and during that time, we’ve seen a whole lot of partisan bickering, obstructionism, and political maneuvering,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN). “But you know what we haven’t seen: Senate Republicans doing their job as outlined by the Constitution. The President has fulfilled his duty by nominating Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the highest court in the land, and now, it’s the responsibility of us—the Senate—to fulfill our duty as well. That means we need Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and ultimately, an up or down vote on Judge Garland’s confirmation. I was pleased to join these young American leaders today to remind Senate Republicans that it’s time to take off their political blinders. This is far too important to ignore.”

“As a member of Congress who was elected to do my job, I take my constitutional duty seriously,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “Senate leadership should stop their obstructionism and take their duties seriously, too. A lengthy Supreme Court vacancy can have severe and lasting consequences. It’s time for the Senate to do their jobs and give Judge Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

“This Supreme Court vacancy is critically important for all Americans, but especially for Latinos living in the United States,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez. “We are an especially young community with more than 14 million millennials. So our message is simple: The President has done his job, now it is time for Republican Senators to do their job.”

Oscar R. Cornejo a junior at Dartmouth College studying Sociology and Native American Studies, was one of the many young leaders who traveled to Washington to urge the Senate to “Do Your Job.”

As an undocumented student from Mexico, Oscar co-founded Dartmouth’s first immigrant rights organization, advocating and raising awareness of the undocumented immigrant voice. During his three years at Dartmouth, Oscar has united campus stakeholders to cultivate inclusivity and access to undocumented students, organized the 2015 Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform conference, and lead a successful campaign to have the Library of Congress drop the I-word.

“I know some senators want to wait until after the election, until the next President is elected, to choose the next Supreme Court justice,” said Oscar Conejo, of Hanover, New Hampshire. “But the Senators need to do their job, not play politics with the Supreme Court. As an undocumented student, I know just how critical the decisions are that they make on important issues that affect me and my family, from education to immigration and so much more.”

The letter released today is signed by Young People For, Generation Progress, NAACP Youth and College Division, Sierra Student Coalition, the Roosevelt Institute, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Energy Action Coalition, American Constitution Society Student Chapters, the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, Student Debt Crisis, Advocates for Youth, and the Micah Leadership Council.

Text of the letter is below as well as selected remarks from some of the young leaders who spoke out yesterday.

Consuelo Hernandez, Tucson, Arizona: “I’m here today because I’m tired of conservatives in the Senate choosing politics over precedent and chaos over constitutional duty. On issues as wide-ranging as voting, reproductive justice, and economic justice, the day-to-day lives of young people are directly impacted by the decisions made at the Supreme Court. By choosing not to give Chief Judge Merrick Garland the fair and timely consideration afforded past nominees, conservatives are abandoning their constitutional duties and turning their backs on the constituents like me who put them in office.”

Max Levy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “As the president of the College Dems chapter at the University of Pennsylvania, I know how important it is to work with organizations from across the political spectrum.  Even though we don’t always agree, we work hard to foster productive dialogue on our campus. Right now, some Senators are saying we shouldn’t even hold a hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and that’s just plain wrong. Dialogue is healthy for democracy. I know that’s true on my  campus, and it’s true for the Senate.”

Mary Marston, Concord, North Carolina: “Young people now make up the largest voting bloc in America and many are just becoming politically active. It is critical that our elected officials follow through on their constitutional commitments to keep young people engaged in the democratic process.”

Zach Wahls, Iowa City, Iowa: “I see the marriage between my moms—the possibility of their marriage—as our legal system keeping up its end of the American promise to a fair hearing and due process. Because the Court was able to act, and its decision was recognized as legitimate, my parents’ marriage is recognized in all fifty states—my parents’ sacred promise is recognized to mean the same thing in Iowa as in Alabama. We got a fair hearing, and we need to make sure that America can get a fair hearing, too.”

Peter Cheun, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “Law students across the ideological spectrum may disagree on who their ideal Supreme Court nominee would be. But in my experience, they have been nearly unanimous in their agreement that the Senate should do its job: Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and an up or down vote.”

Max Eichenberger, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “When employees fail to do their jobs, it is their business and consumers that ultimately suffer. For the U.S. Senate, their business is administering our representative government, and we are all the consumers. Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and keep this shop running.”

Joelle Gamble, National Director, Network at the Roosevelt Institute: “So far, in 2016, we’ve seen that young people just want the political process to work the way it is supposed to. If our leaders want us to participate, they have to ensure that the political process works in the first place. They must restore our faith in democracy.”

Karissa Gerhke, Sierra Student Coalition National Director: “Young people working for just, sustainable communities and the protection of the environment are not taking a back seat in this fight. We can’t and we won’t let obstructionists threaten everything we’re fighting for on our campuses and in our communities. The Senate should do its job to fill this vacancy.”

Stephen A. Green, NAACP National Youth and College Director: “Young people from across the country have courageously come together to call upon Congress to do their job or lose their job. We deserve a democracy that works for all people, give Judge Garland a fair hearing!”

Erik Lampmann, People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For Public Affairs & Policy Manager: “Keeping the Court understaffed is simply indefensible. Until our Supreme Court is empowered to function as it was designed, we will not stop calling on Senators to “Do Your Job” and treat the Court, the Constitution, and us with respect.”

Layla Zaidane, Generation Progress Managing Director: “As a generation, Millennials have grown up amid partisan gridlock and politicians more interested in playing political games than doing their job. But the Supreme Court vacancy isn’t a game to us: from marriage equality to reproductive rights, the decisions the Court makes affect our lives, every day. Millennials overwhelmingly support a hearing and a vote on President Obama’s nominee—it’s time for the Senate to do its job and ensure a fully-functioning, fully-staffed Supreme Court.”


Open Letter to the Senate

Dear United States Senators,

We, the undersigned youth-led and youth-serving organizations, call on all U.S. senators to give fair and timely consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

On issues as diverse as immigration policy, voting rights, and reproductive rights, the daily lives of young people are affected by what happens in our nation’s courts. We represent broad youth constituencies seeking to ensure that their rights are protected at the local, state, and federal level — including young immigrants, youth of color, trans* and queer youth, students, low-income youth, and differently-abled young people. We know the communities we work with are just some of the over 100 million people in this country who stand to be directly impacted by cases before the Court just this term.

A fully-functioning judiciary is essential to a flourishing democracy and critical to our ability to protect our rights and seek justice. Purposefully keeping the Supreme Court understaffed, as some senators are proposing, is indefensible.

Chief Judge Garland deserves the treatment traditionally afforded past Supreme Court nominees: prompt hearings and an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Senators who believe Chief Judge Garland should not serve on the Supreme Court are free to vote against him, but blocking the process entirely is an abdication of senators’ constitutionally-defined responsibilities and an insult to the people who elected them.

Young people are working each day to provide for themselves and their families; some are also studying for advanced degrees and vocational certificates or organizing their communities to create change. Across the country, young people are working hard at their jobs. They should be able to expect the same of their senators.

The undersigned organizations call on all senators to do their jobs and consider the President’s nominee to the nation’s highest court in a timely fashion. There are too many critical issues at stake for young people, and for all people, for ideologically motivated senators to play politics with our Supreme Court.

Respectfully,

Advocates for Youth

American Constitution Society Law Student Chapters

Energy Action Coalition

Generation Progress

Sierra Student Coalition

Student Debt Crisis

Micah Leadership Council

NAACP Youth and College Division

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Network at the Roosevelt Institute

Young Elected Officials Network

Young People For

#DoYourJob — Shaheen Addresses SCOTUS Vacancy on the Senate Floor

 “Let’s do the job we were sent here to do by the American people”

Also calls on her colleagues in the Senate to “follow the Constitution” and “respect our oath of office” 

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) took to the Senate floor to respond to the refusal by the Senate Majority to hold a hearing on any Supreme Court nominee put forward by the President. Shaheen noted in her speech, the long bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees during election years. She also called on her colleagues Senators to stick to their oath of office:

“Our oath does not say: uphold the Constitution ‘most of the time’ or ‘only when it’s not a Presidential election year.’”

“The American people expect Senators to be faithful to our oath. They also expect us to do our jobs – regardless of whether it is an election year.” 

“Let’s respect our oath of office. Let’s do the job we were sent here to do by the American people. Let’s follow the Constitution.”

 

You can watch Senator Shaheen’s full remarks here.

Gov Hassan Continues to Stress the Need for Responsible, Compromise Budget at Nashua Chamber of Commerce

Governor Hassan: Business Tax Cuts Must Be Paid For, Cannot Come at the Expense of Critical Economic Priorities

NASHUA – At the Nashua Chamber of Commerce State of the State breakfast, Governor Maggie Hassan continued to stress the importance of working across party lines toward a compromise to pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that keeps New Hampshire moving forward by supporting critical economic priorities like higher education, public safety, health care, and a modern, safe transportation infrastructure.

“As the Committee of Conference on the budget moves forward this week, I remain committed to working with Republican leadership to reach a compromise, fiscally responsible budget that moves New Hampshire forward,” Governor Hassan said. “We will continue to be willing to negotiate productively throughout the week.”

Governor Hassan said she has serious concerns that the current Senate budget proposal is unbalanced and contains expensive tax cuts primarily benefiting large out-of-state corporations while under-funding key priorities including education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges.

“My budget proposal is honest about what we can afford to do and it is focused on keeping New Hampshire moving forward by supporting critical economic priorities like higher education, public safety, health care, and our roads and bridges,” Governor Hassan said. “On the other hand, the plan proposed by Republicans prioritizes tax cuts for large businesses, mostly headquartered out-of-state, without paying for those cuts, creating a $90 million hole in our budget at the expense of the priorities that are essential for our families, small businesses and economy.”

Governor Hassan said she understands that business tax cuts are among the Senate’s most important priorities and that she is willing to work with Republican legislative leaders on a proposal to cut the business taxes, but only if those reductions are paid for within this budget and do not come at the expense of priorities such as higher education, public safety, health care and transportation.

“I have made it clear to Republican leadership that I am not philosophically opposed to their proposal to lower the business taxes and that I believe we can find common ground, but those cuts must be paid for and cannot come at the expense of our state’s long-term financial health or at the expense of the priorities that are critical to the success of people and businesses – holding down the cost of college tuition, making sure our workers can access health-care without financial ruin, and keeping our roads plowed for commuters and businesses,” Governor Hassan said.

Governor Hassan has made clear that she believes it is a critical to have a transparent and honest balanced budget that moves away from gimmicks such as back-of-the-budget cuts and unrealistic “assumptions” to ensure that the state can deliver on the promises made in the budget. In addition to the reauthorization of the state’s bipartisan health care expansion program that is providing coverage to more than 40,000 hard-working Granite Staters and the new contract for state employees, ensuring an adequate budget for the Governor’s priorities include higher education, substance misuse and mental health, the Departments of Corrections and Transportation.

“First and foremost, the budget must be balanced and honest. I recognize that we may not agree on every spending priority, but we cannot promise to spend money that isn’t there,” Governor Hassan said. “Continued reliance on these irresponsible budget gimmicks will put our state on perilous financial footing and undermine the legislature’s constitutional duty to balance the budget.”

The Governor closed her remarks by reiterating that while she continues to negotiate with Republican legislative leaders, any final agreement will require compromise from both sides.

“I am committed to negotiating in good faith to reach a compromise budget, but I need willing negotiating partners on the other side,” Governor Hassan said. “We can pass a responsible, bipartisan budget that invests so that we can stem troublesome demographic trends and build a brighter economic future with more opportunity that will allow our people to climb the ladder of success. We have done it before, and we can do it again.”

ICYMI: Concord Monitor Editorial: “Budgets of Unmet Needs, Raided Funds”

Concord, N.H. – Republicans in the legislature continue to take heat for budget proposals that fail to meet the state’s economic needs, including failing to adequately fund substance misuse treatment and not continuing the state’s successful Medicaid expansion program.

The Concord Monitor editorial board wrote, “A seemingly sensible, but woeful, statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Sen. Jeanie Forrester explains why New Hampshire is falling behind. ‘I would like it to be more,’ Forrester told Monitor State House reporter Allie Morris. ‘But this is what we can afford.’”

The Monitor noted that despite claims from Forrester and Republicans in the Legislature that the state can’t afford to adequately fund critical priorities like substance misuse treatment, “they want to reduce business taxes under the failed theory that it promotes business growth. That will guarantee a continued state inability to keep its promises and meet its obligations.”

The Monitor also points out that Republicans’ dedicated fund raids may be unconstitutional.

In a joint op-ed, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff and Rep. Mary Jane Wallner wrote, “We were glad to hear that Republican senators agreed that the budget passed by the New Hampshire House was unacceptable. But, in trying to fix the House’s mess, Senate Republicans passed a budget that doesn’t actually do what they say it does… Now it’s time to work together to pass a responsible budget that actually funds the priorities it claims it does.”

See full roundup below:

Concord Monitor Editorial: Budgets of unmet needs, raided funds

… A seemingly sensible, but woeful, statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Sen. Jeanie Forrester explains why New Hampshire is falling behind.

“I would like it to be more,” Forrester told Monitor State House reporter Allie Morris. “But this is what we can afford.”

Forrester was defending the Senate’s decision to once again default on its obligation to dedicate 5 percent of state liquor store profits to substance abuse treatment.

… In fact, funding for the past four years has been roughly the same amount. … The result: more deaths, more crime, more broken families and higher welfare and corrections costs.

But back to Forrester’s statement.

Many of the deaths were in her district, and the senator knows that more needs to be done.

… Forrester’s statement was just another version of the Republican “live within our means” mantra. Mention revenue, in the state with the sixth-highest per capita income in the nation and Republican legislators sit down, put their hands over their ears and begin chanting, “La, la, la, la, la.”

To make matters worse, they want to reduce business taxes under the failed theory that it promotes business growth. That will guarantee a continued state inability to keep its promises and meet its obligations.

Neither budget includes money to continue the expanded Medicaid program that has allowed some 40,000 low-income adults to have health insurance, many for the first time.

… The budget the governor will either veto, sign or let pass without her signature will probably include money from raids on several dedicated funds, a practice former Concord mayor and constitutional savant Martin Gross and others say is clearly unconstitutional.

Recipients of grants from the state’s renewable energy fund, which has been raided in the past and will be to a smaller degree in the new budget, are debating whether to sue to prevent the raid. [Full editorial]

Nashua Telegraph Op-Ed: Time to come together on the budget

By Reps. Steve Shurtleff and Mary Jane Wallner

To pass a budget that truly meets the needs of our state requires both parties to put partisanship aside and work together to get things done.

No one political party has a monopoly on good ideas, and it’s crucial that both parties work together during the budget process to develop a responsible budget that will make progress for our people, businesses, and economy.

Back in February, Gov. Maggie Hassan presented a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that makes strategic investments to lay the foundation for a new generation of economic growth, without a sales or income tax.

Unfortunately, House Republicans took a very different approach, passing a strictly partisan budget that prompted outcry from all corners of our state.

We were glad to hear that Republican senators agreed that the budget passed by the New Hampshire House was unacceptable. But, in trying to fix the House’s mess, Senate Republicans passed a budget that doesn’t actually do what they say it does.

The Senate budget misleads the people of New Hampshire about what priorities are actually being funded, while relying on gimmicks that leave the budget unbalanced.

Senate Republicans claim to have restored critical services for our state’s most vulnerable citizens, including Meals on Wheels and services for individuals who experience developmental disabilities. But the reality is that their budget gimmicks – including things like magical savings estimates and unrealistic projections – place all of these services at risk.

Take for example, funding for mental health services. After claiming to “restore” $6.25 million in mental health funding, senators actually told the department to cut $6.25 million from the landmark mental health settlement the legislature approved last year, threatening critical services.

And when it comes to substance misuse treatment, senators used accounting tricks to try to hide the fact that they actually cut $3 million from the governor’s proposal for substance misuse treatment.

That’s to say nothing of their failure to adequately fund public safety, higher education and their decision not to continue our bipartisan Medicaid expansion program.

While even Senate Republicans agree that our state’s Medicaid expansion is working exactly as intended – if not better – their budget places 40,000 Granite Staters at risk of losing their coverage and creates uncertainty in the insurance market that could lead to higher rates for all of our people and businesses.

Though the Senate claimed we couldn’t afford to invest in priorities like Medicaid expansion and higher education with proven results for economic growth, they expressed no concerns about giving unpaid-for tax giveaways to big businesses, blowing a huge hole in our budget.

We believe the approach laid out in the governor’s fiscally responsible proposal would be the best way forward for our state. That said, we appreciate that passing a budget requires compromise, and as we enter the committee-of-conference process, we stand ready to do just that.

The good news is that Democrats and Republicans agree on many of the critical priorities that must be met for our economy to thrive. Now it’s time to work together to pass a responsible budget that actually funds the priorities it claims it does.

The people of New Hampshire didn’t send us to Concord to point fingers or engage in political gamesmanship. They sent us to Concord to solve problems and get results for our state.

We’ve come a long way together throughout this budget process, and it’s time to get ourselves over the finish line.

New Hampshire’s families and businesses are depending on our ability to work together to pass a budget that keeps our economy moving in the right direction, and we look forward to working with our Republican colleagues to do exactly that.

Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, D–Penacook, is the New Hampshire House Democratic Leader; Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, D–Concord, is the ranking Democratic and former chair of the House Finance Committee.

Richard Gulla: New Hampshire Budget Reveals An ‘Ideological Assault’

By RICHARD GULLA
President of the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984)

Rich Gulla (SEA/ SEIU 1984 President) It’s been written that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This adage fits well with the New Hampshire Senate budget that was pushed through along party lines – the Legislature continues to cut revenue and then tell us we cannot afford to invest in our state.

Over the next few weeks, legislators from the New Hampshire House and Senate will work to iron out the differences in their respective budgets. Unfortunately for the state’s citizens, neither budget meets the basic needs of the state; and the finished product is likely to reflect that.

The Senate budget severely underfunds the state’s community colleges and universities; underfunds substance abuse programs; does not provide enough support for those living with mental health issues; does not provide for snow removal; and downshifts even more costs to towns and municipalities. Their budget also includes the closure of Health and Human Services district offices in four communities – Conway, Claremont, Rochester and Laconia. Some of the communities that are in greatest need.

The Senate also failed to honor the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated in good faith between the state of New Hampshire and the State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire (SEA/SEIU 1984).

SEIU 1984 LogoIn fact, the Senate Finance Committee did not even discuss the contract in committee, even after Sen. Lou D’Allesandro requested that it be discussed more than once.

Despite several meetings between Senate leadership and SEA/SEIU 1984 representatives and assurances made by the senators, the collective bargaining agreement for thousands of hard-working state employees was not given the opportunity it deserved – to be heard and discussed. This disrespectful treatment of workers is disappointing, frustrating and disheartening.

The proposed budget provides a solid look at what today’s GOP supports: lower taxes for big out-of-state businesses. As a bonus, they are adding language in another bill for a special tax break for former governor Craig Benson and his wealthy friends at Planet Fitness. If you are keeping score at home: It is tens of millions of dollars for the wealthy and corporations, and zip for working families and people in need.

Ordinarily, our organization is bipartisan. We do not care if an elected leader is a Republican, Democrat or independent – if he or she supports public sector workers and the services they deliver to New Hampshire citizens, we are friends.

At this time, though, it must be clear to even the most casual political observers that we are facing an ideological assault that is unprecedented in its agenda and harmful to our citizens.

Every cut to expenditures and every cut in revenue is designed to hack away at our infrastructure; infrastructure that in many cases was built by the Republican party of yesterday – a party that believed in investing in our children, families and communities. They are bulldozing our future and then congratulating themselves because they cut needed services.

We cannot afford to continue doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. We call upon our legislators to take this opportunity in committee of conference to build a budget that both parties can support, by funding these critical services and the hardworking people who deliver them every day.

Otherwise, the budget next year will look much like the budget this year, and all the budgets before it.

ICYMI: N.H. Senate Republicans Pass Unbalanced Budget That Neglects Critical Economic Priorities

Reckless Budget Cuts

Concord, N.H. – Senate Republicans’ yesterday passed an unbalanced budget that will hurt small businesses and middle class families, and take New Hampshire’s economy backward.

While Senate Republicans continue to push a partisan agenda, Governor Hassan made clear that she’s ready and willing to reach a responsible, bipartisan compromise that will keep New Hampshire’s economy moving in the right direction.

The Associated Press reported, “Democrats presented amendments to extend Medicaid expansion, increase mental health funding, and add an additional $3 million for substance abuse treatment. Each failed along party lines. Democrats chided Republicans for supporting business tax cuts rather than paying for these types of programs.”

NHPR reported that Senate Democrats criticized the plan for being “filled with ‘budget gimmicks’ such as unspecified cuts and includes favors for “special friends.’”

NHPR also reported, “Sen. Andrew Hosmer of Laconia says it’s irrational to not fully fund substance abuse treatment when there were 320 drug-overdose deaths last year. ‘One of them worked for me, good kids, good families, education. You say, how could they ever end up in this situation? Darcey S. said about her son that worked for me, every life matters, her son’s life matters. They didn’t have the resources they needed,’ he said firmly.”

The Concord Monitor noted, “One-third of the Department of Health and Human Services’ district offices, where residents can apply for Medicare and food stamps, could close under the state budget plan passed by the Senate yesterday.”

See coverage roundup below:

NHPR: N.H. Senate Approves 2-Year Budget Along Party Lines

After hours of debate and more than a dozen failed floor amendments, the Senate voted 14-10 along party lines Thursday to pass a $11.3 billion budget.

… Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn says such a budget is not in the best interest of New Hampshire citizens. “This process is 100 percent partisan, 100 percent Republican. We need a budget that meets our needs. That is fiscally balanced, that is politically balanced,” he said.

Democrats also claim the plan is filled with “budget gimmicks” such as unspecified cuts and includes favors for “special friends,” which refers to business tax cuts that will result in an estimated $19 million revenue loss in the next biennium.

… Another sticking point for Democrats is the exclusion of a state employee pay raise and the extension of Medicaid expansion, which were both included in the Governor’s version.

… Throughout the day, Democrats proposed several amendments on the floor aiming to restore funding for services such as mental health, winter maintenance and the renewable energy fund – all were rejected along party lines.

An emotional debate did; however, break out on an amendment calling for $3.1 million more for substance abuse treatment and prevention.

Democratic Sen. Andrew Hosmer of Laconia says it’s irrational to not fully fund substance abuse treatment when there were 320 drug-overdose deaths last year.

“One of them worked for me, good kids, good families, education. You say, how could they ever end up in this situation? Darcey S. said about her son that worked for me, every life matters, her son’s life matters. They didn’t have the resources they needed,” he said firmly. [Full story]

Concord Monitor: State budget plan calls for consolidation of HHS district offices

One-third of the Department of Health and Human Services’ district offices, where residents can apply for Medicare and food stamps, could close under the state budget plan passed by the Senate yesterday.

The spending plan calls for HHS to consolidate district offices to save $2 million over the next two-year budget. Offices in Claremont, Conway, Laconia and Rochester have been identified for possible closure, according to HHS.

The office consolidation was added to the state budget by the House, and it was not changed by the Senate.

… HHS has 11 district offices across the state. The offices are tasked with helping residents apply for food stamps, health care, Medicare and child care. The offices also serve as a headquarters for staff who check on foster care families and cases of abuse or substance abuse in the community.

The Laconia office serves nearly 30 communities including Holderness, Tilton, Ashland and Groton. The office has a 62-person staff and a caseload of about 12,000 people, according to HHS.  [Full story]

AP: New Hampshire Senate passes $11.3 billion budget

New Hampshire senators voted along party lines to pass an $11.3 billion state budget Thursday, with Democrats failing at every turn to change the two-year spending plan.

… the budget does not include money to continue Medicaid expansion beyond 2016 or fund $12 million in state employee pay raises. Democrats also said the budget fails to adequately fund mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.

“Never pat yourself on the back for the things that you did do, but worry about the things you didn’t do,” Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester told his colleagues.

Democrats presented amendments to extend Medicaid expansion, increase mental health funding, and add an additional $3 million for substance abuse treatment.

Each failed along party lines. Democrats chided Republicans for supporting business tax cuts rather than paying for these types of programs.

“We can either provide treatment and save lives with the funding that we have or we can give tax breaks to the 1 percent of businesses in New Hampshire,” Democratic Sen. Molly Kelly of Keene said after introducing the substance abuse funding amendment. “It’s a trade-off. It’s a choice we have. What do you think the people of New Hampshire would say about that choice?”

Other Democratic efforts aimed to increase funding for the Department of Corrections, university and community college systems, and winter maintenance in the Department of Transportation. [Full story]

WMUR: New Hampshire Senate passes budget

… The big critique from Democrats, that the budget does not provide enough increases in several areas including mental health, drug abuse and higher education.

… Governor Hassan released a statement today that read in part, “I continue to have serious concerns that the Senate’s plan is unbalanced and will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward. The plan includes large tax cuts that will create a hole in this budget and budgets well into the future and relies on gimmicks that will ultimately leave the budget unbalanced.” [Full video]

Union Leader: Senate approves $11.33b state budget

Voting along party lines, 14-10, Republican senators approved an $11.33 billion two-year budget Thursday as the governor called for significant changes to reach a bipartisan compromise.

… However, the plan does not include money for a 2 percent pay raise for state employees, or for continuing Medicaid expansion beyond Dec. 31, 2016, when the federal government stops paying 100 percent of the costs.

Gov. Maggie Hassan said while the Senate budget is an improvement over the House plan, much more needs to be done to reach a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that moves the state forward.

… But Democrats assailed the plan as shortchanging New Hampshire citizens, giving tax breaks to big business that really cost $23 million, and failing to properly fund essential programs and services such as higher education that would also spur the economy.

Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, said while Democrats and Republicans may have agreed 80 percent of the time, the remaining 20 percent represents $52 million.

“What didn’t we do that we can do to make a difference in the lives of the people we represent?” D’Allesandro said. “Look at the things we didn’t do. What’s left on the table?”

Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, said lawmakers have been making tough decisions for years because there never is enough money, but this year is different.

We do have a choice, and we’ve chosen to make cuts to the (business profits tax) and the (business enterprise tax),” she said. “We have so many other priorities; the 1 percent (of businesses) who gain would rather see us spend the money in other ways.”

… In emotional testimony, Democrats urged their Republican colleagues to increase funding for drug and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention and for continuing the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover, chided his colleagues for being unwilling to support reauthorizing Medicaid expansion beyond 2016.

“To yank away (from families) the coverage they have come to expect, that they enrolled in, is morally reprehensible,” Pierce said. “Why not, today, do the right thing?”

… Sen Andrew Hosmer, D-Laconia, told of an employee’s son who died from a drug overdose. “Every life matters,” he said. “Every life matters.” [Full story]

Kelly Ayotte Votes Against New Hampshire’s Best Interests In Budget

Senator Kelly Ayotte 2 (Gage Skidmore)

Senator Kelly Ayotte at CPAC in 2013 (Image by Gage Skidmore FLIKR)

As the Senate wrapped up a slew of budget amendment votes Kelly Ayotte’s priorities were on full display, and now she has to begin the difficult work of trying to explain her indefensible votes to her constituents back home.

Below is just a sampling of where Kelly Ayotte voted against New Hampshire’s best interests:

  • Voted against an amendment to prevent companies from getting tax benefits for shipping jobs overseas. Over 106,000 jobs in New Hampshire are at risk of being outsourced
  • Opposed an amendment to adopt the Paycheck Fairness Act to give women more tools to fight pay discrimination.
  • Voted against measures to protect Social Security against privatization and benefit cuts and prevent Medicare from being turned into a voucher program
  • Voted against an amendment that would let young people refinance their student loans, which would help 129,000 borrowers in New Hampshire, and against restoring cuts to the Pell Grant program
  • Opposed a measure to provide two free years of community college by raising revenue through requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes

Kelly Ayotte’s priorities are clear, and New Hampshire students, seniors families and workers don’t make the list.

“If anyone wasn’t clear about how extreme Kelly Ayotte truly is, they don’t need to look any further than her votes on this budget against New Hampshire students, seniors, families and workers,” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC National Press Secretary. “New Hampshire voters deserve better than Kelly Ayotte’s refusal to stand up for their best interests and they’ll hold her accountable in 2016.”

These are not the priorities of New Hampshire working families.  These are the priorities of the rich, elite 1% who want to take more from the hard working middle class and refuse to pay their fair share.

“From voting to protect tax benefits for companies that outsource jobs to opposing a measure that would let young people refinance their student loans, Kelly Ayotte proved once again that her focus in Washington is looking out for her special interest allies and not the best interests of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

This budget will not help Granite State families, it will only hurt them.  Slashing social programs that low income families rely on, reducing benefits to seniors who are already struggling to pay their bills on a fixed income, and gives more tax breaks to wealthy corporations who skirt paying their fair share in taxes.

It is obvious that Senator Ayotte is more interested in following her out of touch party leadership than doing what is right for New Hampshire families.  She is also setting herself up nicely for a potential GOP Vice President nomination, building a hefty war chest and voting right down party lines.

Senator Soucy Condemns Senate GOP for Failing to Raise the NH Minimum Wage

Republicans Kill Minimum Wage Increase that Affects More Than 76,000 people    


CONCORD – Senator Donna Soucy of Manchester issued the following statement today after Senate Republicans defeated her prime sponsored, Senate Bill 261 on a party-line vote of 14-10.

“Today, the Republican-led Senate failed to strengthen the financial security of hard working Granite Staters and expand opportunity for more than 76,000 people who would have been affected by raising the minimum wage,” said Senator Soucy. “Senate Democrats support restoring and increasing the minimum wage, so everyone will have an opportunity to succeed and support themselves and their families.”

A NH Fiscal Policy Institute report shows that 72% of the New Hampshire minimum wage workers, who would directly or indirectly benefit from this bill are age 20 and older with nearly 40% being 30 and older. Fifty-nine percent are women and 14% are parents.

“Paying decent wages is a good investment for our businesses,” said Senator Soucy. “Well-paid workers are better employees and better customers; their spending helps sustain our businesses and our economy.”

This vote puts Senate Republicans on the wrong side of the vast majority of NH residents. 76%  Granite Staters support an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which includes 70% of Independents and even 64% of Republicans.


Update:

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Senate Minimum Wage Vote

 

CONCORD – Following the New Hampshire Senate’s vote today to reject SB 261, a bill that would restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

 

“It is disappointing that Senate Republicans voted down a common-sense measure to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, which would have a ripple effect on wages higher up the pay scale while supporting businesses and encouraging job creation by putting more money in the pockets of consumers so that they can buy goods and services.

 

“Individuals working full-time in New Hampshire should be able to earn enough to pull themselves above the federal-poverty threshold and support their families, but for too long, wages have failed to grow with the cost of our families’ needs. In order to boost our economy and strengthen the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters, I will continue fighting to restore and increase our minimum wage.”

 

New Hampshire Citizen Outlines Personal Outsourcing Experience, Slams Scott Brown’s Outsourcing Agenda

In Open Letter to Granite Staters, Ed Cunningham Explains
How “Scott Brown Only Cares About Himself”  

Manchester – Today, the Shaheen campaign released an open letter to voters from New Hampshire native Ed Cunningham, who has lived in New Hampshire his whole life but saw his life turned upside down after his job was shipped overseas. The letter slams Scott Brown for voting for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and for cashing in on the board of a company that outsourced American jobs.

“Scott Brown outsourcing policies have real consequences,” said Shaheen Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. “Ed Cunningham’s story shows firsthand why Scott Brown is fundamentally not for New Hampshire.”

See the open letter below:

My name is Ed Cunningham and I’ve lived in New Hampshire my entire life.  I was born and raised in Danville, and now live in Kensington with my wife Ginger. I’ve worked hard my entire life to provide for my family, and I never expected any sort of hand out. I always thought that if I worked hard and played by the rules I would be OK. I wanted to retire with dignity, and maybe help my kids start off on their own here in New Hampshire.

I almost lost everything in 2007 when my job was outsourced to another country. I was working at Lucent Technologies in Massachusetts when they decided that outsourcing jobs to increase their bottom line was more important than participating in maintaining a middle class here in the United States.

I can’t begin to describe how it feels to lose your job in the way I did. The range of emotions you go through – from sheer anger, to sadness, to frankly a terrible sense of fear and helplessness – is something I would never wish on my worst enemy. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I was lucky. Eventually I found another job. But others weren’t as lucky and many of my friends struggled to find a job.

Because of what happened to me, it’s very hard to put into words just how angry I was when I found out that Scott Brown not only voted for tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas, but is now personally profiting from a company that outsources American jobs.  It infuriates me – especially because he flat out lied to people during last night’s debate about his record.

Anyone who works for a living needs to know that Scott Brown only cares about himself and his own self interests. There is no other explanation for why he voted the way he did in 2010;  voting against a bill to help small business to create jobs in America. He then turned around and accepted a job from Kadent corporation, a company that plans to outsource even more American jobs. It’s impossible for me to take a word he says about “jobs” seriously. It’s obvious he doesn’t care about our jobs, he only cares about making money for corporations and himself.

Scott Brown symbolizes everything that is wrong with politicians who support the corporate greed that is ruining our country and the lives of our workers because it benefits their own bottom line. I am sending this letter to every newspaper in New Hampshire because I think this is that important. We can’t let him fool voters into thinking he actually cares about us.

Ed Cunningham
Kensington, NH

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 185 other subscribers

  • Advertisement