House Democratic Releases Statement on Verizon Contract Agreement

CONCORD, NH– House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement upon announcement that Verizon Communications and its unions have reached agreement in principle on a 4-year contract that ends a six-week strike.

“I am very pleased to hear that Verizon Communications and union employees have reached tentative agreement to bring the employees back under contract.  Hard working employees deserve a contract with clearly defined benefits, which is why Democratic House members joined Verizon employees on the picket line in Manchester, standing side-by-side over the past six weeks.  While terms of the agreement are still unknown, it is my hope that this contract restores the health care benefits to Verizon employees that were recently eliminated.”

House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff Expresses Condolences on the Passing of Representative Marcia Moody

CONCORD – House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff today expressed his condolences upon learning of the death of Representative Marcia Moody of Newmarket.

“I was very saddened by the news of Marcia’s passing,” said Shurtleff. “During her six terms in the New Hampshire House, Marcia was a tireless advocate for the progress agenda she tirelessly supported and a valued member of the Election Law Committee.”

“Speaking for all members of the Democratic Caucus, we will miss Marcia’s passion, strength and good humor. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Marcia’s family and friends and all who knew her.”

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Statement from NH Democratic Leader on Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address

CONCORD, NH – Representative Stephen Shurtleff of Penacook, NH House Democratic Leader released the following statement following Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address.

“Thanks to Governor Hassan’s strong, bipartisan leadership, the State of New Hampshire remains strong and is getting stronger. In her address today, the Governor presented specific steps that we as a state can take to continue this progress while bolstering the middle class and ensuring that every Granite Stater has the opportunity to succeed.”

“I was pleased to hear the Governor discuss the importance of early childhood education and workforce training programs in her State of the State address. The Gateway to Work program is a bold idea that will help bring more of our citizens into the workforce and help them thrive in the 21st century economy, while continuing to attract businesses to our state for our skilled, trained, and motivated workers. My colleagues in the State House and I look forward to working with Governor Hassan to build a New Hampshire where all of our people and businesses have a fair shot to get ahead and stay ahead.”

Statement from NH Democratic Leader on Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address

CONCORD, NH – Representative Stephen Shurtleff of Penacook, NH House Democratic Leader released the following statement following Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address.

“Thanks to Governor Hassan’s strong, bipartisan leadership, the State of New Hampshire remains strong and is getting stronger. In her address today, the Governor presented specific steps that we as a state can take to continue this progress while bolstering the middle class and ensuring that every Granite Stater has the opportunity to succeed.”

“I was pleased to hear the Governor discuss the importance of early childhood education and workforce training programs in her State of the State address. The Gateway to Work program is a bold idea that will help bring more of our citizens into the workforce and help them thrive in the 21st century economy, while continuing to attract businesses to our state for our skilled, trained, and motivated workers. My colleagues in the State House and I look forward to working with Governor Hassan to build a New Hampshire where all of our people and businesses have a fair shot to get ahead and stay ahead.”

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House Democratic Leader Statement on Fiscally Responsible, Bipartisan Compromise Budget Deal

September 15, 2015

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement on the fiscally responsible, bipartisan compromise budget deal:

“While this compromise agreement does not include everything that either side wanted, it is a fiscally responsible, bipartisan plan that will support the priorities that are critical to New Hampshire’s families and businesses and keep our economy moving forward.”

“After months of talks, I’m grateful that both sides were able to come together on a compromise that maintains our commitment to our state employees and ensures that business tax cuts will not come at the expense of critical priorities like combating substance abuse, mental health, economic development, and public safety.”

“While we still have much work to do including re-authorizing our state’s successful Medicaid expansion program, I’m appreciative of the hard work of Governor Hassan and members of both parties in getting this deal done.”

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Statement on Speaker Jasper Acknowledging That Corporate Tax Cuts Will Blow a Hole in the Budget

Concord, N.H. – In an email yesterday to all members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Speaker Shawn Jasper agreed that Republicans’ proposed corporate tax cuts will blow a huge hole in the budget, and admitted that House Republicans are being driven by politics in the budget process.

Speaker Jasper agreed that corporate tax cuts would lead to a huge hole in the budget, writing, “As to the business tax cuts, I do not believe that cutting them will bring in more revenue, nor do I believe that by themselves they will make New Hampshire a more attractive state for businesses to locate to or to expand.”

“While we appreciate Speaker Jasper’s honesty in admitting that the Republicans’ unpaid for corporate tax cuts would blow a huge hole in the state’s budget and are being driven by partisan politics, his admission has truly disturbing implications for our economy and the people he and his members are supposed to be representing,” said House Deputy Democratic Leader Cindy Rosenwald. “It’s time for our Republican colleagues to stop worrying about politics and work with us under the Governor’s leadership to pass a compromise budget that is balanced, fiscally responsible and actually meets the needs of New Hampshire’s families, businesses, and economy.”

 

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House Democrats Statement on Passage of Irresponsible Republican Budget Proposal

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – House Democratic leaders released the following statements after the state Senate voted on party lines to pass a partisan budget proposal.

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff:  “Today is a sad day for the state of New Hampshire, and a stark contrast to two years ago when the legislature came together to approve a bipartisan budget proposal that met the needs of small businesses and working families.  A budget is a statement of priorities, and the decision by Senate Republicans to prioritize special interests over the needs Granite Staters speaks volumes.  By approving a tax giveaway to big businesses headquartered out-of-state, while declining to continue the successful Health Protection Program or fund the negotiated State Employee contract, Senate Republicans have shown that their priorities are not in line with New Hampshire values.

The House Democratic Caucus will continue to fight for policies that expand middle class opportunity, support small business, and move the state of New Hampshire forward.  We look forward to working with our Republican colleagues in conference to transform this irresponsible proposal into a budget that works for everyone.”

Representative Mary Jane Wallner, Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee:  “When the budget left the House, we knew significant improvements would be needed to reverse the irresponsible cuts to social service programs that were approved by House Republicans.  Unfortunately, the budget approved by the Senate today fails to meet the needs of New Hampshire, and will surely harm the economic growth we have seen under the leadership of Governor Hassan.

With New Hampshire adding over 13,000 jobs since the current budget was approved 21 months ago, reducing our unemployment rate 24% in less than two years, it is obvious that the bipartisan approach we took last term is working.  While it is unclear why Republicans have chosen to abandon that successful approach in favor of partisan politics, it is clear that the budget approved today would have a devastating effect on our economy.

Failing to reauthorize the successful Health Protection Program, which has worked to eliminate the “hidden tax” on health care by reducing emergency room visits by uninsured patients by 22%, is extremely shortsighted and leaves over 40,000 Granite Staters on the brink of losing their health insurance.  Choosing instead to spend millions on tax giveaways, the majority of which will benefit just 1% of businesses, is just one example of this budget putting partisan politics over the people of New Hampshire.

As we have heard repeatedly from businesses and business organizations, the most important component for growth is a well-educated work force.  The Senate’s decision to reduce the Governor’s proposed investment for our university system, along with decisions to divert gas tax revenue earmarked for road work in local communities, and the failure to fund a negotiated State Employee contract or adequately fund substance-abuse treatment, all show that significant work is still needed before this budget is ready for approval.

While the budget approved by the Senate today is unacceptable, House Democrats remain eager to work with our colleagues across the aisle to craft a responsible budget that serves the needs of Granite Staters and builds on the economic growth we have seen over the last two years.”

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House Democrats Statement on Passage of Legislation Establishing 30-Day Residency Requirement for Voting

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Representative David E. Cote, ranking Democrat on the House Election Law Committee, released the following statement after House Republicans voted to pass SB 179, which requires an individual to be domiciled in New Hampshire for 30 days prior to voting in an election.

“Denying people the right to vote by enacting an arbitrary probationary period represents a blatantly unconstitutional invasion of voter rights under the U.S. Constitution.  There is no administrative purpose for the 30-day residency requirement contained in this bill as required by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In fact, New Hampshire’s same-day registration law shows that there can be no administrative justification for this proposal.

With penalties for providing false information on the registration form no different than those contained in current law, it is obvious that this bill will do nothing to prevent the fraud that its sponsors claim it is intended for.  Instead of stopping those who would seek to break the law, this bill will only deny the fundamental right to vote to honest individuals.

As a state that prides itself on exceptional voter turnout, using high levels of voter participation to promote New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary, it is appalling that a major political party would strongly back such an arbitrary roadblock.  Unfortunately, that is what the Republican party has done here today.”

 

House Democratic Leaders Decry Passage of Jasper-O’Brien Budget

CONCORD, NH – House Democratic Leadership today decried passage of the Jasper-O’Brien budget:

“The O’Brien-Jasper budget that passed today brings new meaning to the word ‘irresponsible,’ and was designed simply to get the blessing of Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers,” said House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff. “But don’t just take my word for it, even the bill’s authors admitted today that this budget should never become law.”

“The budget passed today is a twisted tale of broken promises, which is to be expected from a budget that was bad enough to win approval from the Koch Brothers,” said Representative Cindy Rosenwald, House Deputy Democratic Leader and a member of the House Finance Committee. “From repealing health coverage from tens of thousands of Granite Staters to cutting funds for higher education, to slashing funding for substance abuse, seniors, mental health and individuals with developmental disabilities, this is a budget that will take our people, businesses and economy backward.”

“Not only does this budget downshift costs onto local communities and property taxpayers, but it also raids dedicated funds and empties the state’s rainy day fund, breaking House Republicans’ own promises, and threatening our state’s bond rating,” said Representative Mary Jane Wallner, Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and former Finance Committee Chair. “While House Republicans like to talk about ‘fiscal responsibility,’ the reckless O’Brien-Jasper budget proves once again that House Republicans have no credibility at all on fiscal responsibility.”

House Republicans Budget “Fix” at Expense of Students, Families and Property Taxpayers

CONCORD, NH – Republicans on the House Finance Committee voted today to pass a so-called budget “fix” at the expense of students, families and local property taxpayers.

The House Republicans’ “fix” would cut $28 million from the university system — cutting Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations to the University System nearly 9 percent below this year. This is on top of cutting k-12 education stabilization grants by $27 million.

Republicans on the Finance Committee also voted to cut $50 million in dedicated renewable energy funds intended to help businesses, consumers and local communities cut their energy costs. This $50 million sweep from the REF fund breaks a promise made by the Republican majority leader last January.

This so-called “fix” would also cut all aid to local communities for infrastructure.

The House budget had already cut critical health care services, including health care for nearly 40,000 people, meals on wheels for seniors, services for people with developmental disabilities. It also cut dollars dedicated by law for travel and tourism promotion in half and other economic development measures.

“This is no ‘fix’ at all as House Republicans go from bad to worse with backward cuts that will hurt students and families, and increase local property taxes,” said Representative Cindy Rosenwald, House Deputy Democratic Leader and a member of the House Finance Committee. “The people of New Hampshire sent us to Concord to make the tough decisions required to balance the budget responsibly, not to simply pass the buck onto local property taxpayers by downshifting costs onto our cities and towns.”

“The devastating cuts in the House Republican budget are a choice, not a necessity. For anyone who says that we can’t invest in critical economic priorities while living within our means, I tell them to look at the Governor’s responsible budget proposal, because that’s exactly what it does,” Rosenwald.