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.

House Democrats Blast Decision By Republicans on House Finance Committee to Rewrite Budget Behind Closed Doors  

CONCORD, NH – Representative Mary Jane Wallner, Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and former Finance Committee Chair, released the following statement on the decision by Republicans on the House Finance Committee to rewrite the budget behind closed doors:

“It’s clear that the disastrous House Republican budget process has completely broken down. It now appears that HB1 and HB2, which already contained unacceptable cuts to critical economic priorities, are being rewritten behind closed doors.”

“If House Republicans intend to make even deeper cuts that will take our economy backward, they should do it at committee meetings in the light of day and put the budget process back on track the way it has always worked.”

Statement from House Democrats on Devastating Budget Cuts Passed by House Finance Committee

CONCORD, NH – Representative Mary Jane Wallner and Representative Dan Eaton released the following statements on the draconian budget cuts passed by the House Finance committee.

The massive cuts would slash investments in economic priorities like making higher education more affordable, combating substance abuse, and maintaining roads and bridges. House Republicans’ “plan” would also cut funding for individuals with mental health issues, those who experience developmental disabilities, and seniors. And the Republican budget would eliminate health insurance for more than 37,000 working Granite Staters receiving coverage through the bipartisan NH Health Protection Program.

“The devastating budget cuts passed by the House Finance committee today are very similar to the devastating 2011 Bill O’Brien budget,” said Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and former Finance Committee Chair Representative Mary Jane Wallner. “Instead of working together to build on our bipartisan progress of the last two years to expand opportunity, support job-creating businesses, and keep more young people in New Hampshire, House Republicans have made clear that they will try to drag our state backward in the name of partisan politics.”

“Irresponsible does not even begin to describe the reckless budget cuts passed by the House Finance committee today,” said Representative Dan Eaton. “We know that it’s possible to make smart investments while living within our means because that’s exactly what the Governor’s fiscally responsible budget plan does. Slashing funding for critical economic priorities for people and businesses while making local communities pay the price isn’t a ‘plan,’ it’s a travesty.”

 

House Republicans Move Forward with “Plan” to Decimate Services for Mental Health and Seniors

House Republicans Also Move Forward with Drastic Cuts for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities; Make it Harder for Granite Staters to Access State Services

CONCORD, NH – During Thursday’s House Finance Division meetings, House Republicans approved amendments to move forward with their “plan” to decimate services for mental health and seniors.

In Division III, House Republicans advanced a provision to eliminate a number of critical Medicaid benefits including inpatient and outpatient mental health hospital treatment, psychological services, ambulance services, and physical therapy. They also voted to delay the opening of the new 10-bed crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital, despite the fact that there are 40 individuals currently on the waiting list.

On Thursday, House Republicans voted on a $10.5 million reduction in social services for the elderly, which includes Meals on Wheels and eliminates the ServiceLink program, as well as a cut of $52 million for services to individuals with developmental disabilities,” stated Representative Stephen Shurtleff, House Democratic Leader. “Not to mention that by closing a number of Department of Motor Vehicle substations and Health & Human Services district offices, it will be harder for NH residents to access state services.”

“While there has rightfully been considerable outrage over House Republicans’ reckless ‘plan’ to abdicate responsibility for maintaining our roads and bridges, their ‘plan’ to abandon many of our most vulnerable citizens is even more troubling,” said Representative Mary Jane Wallner, Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and former Finance Committee Chair. “From seniors to those with mental health issues and developmental disabilities, every Granite Stater has family, friends or neighbors who would suffer under these irresponsible cuts.”

“Delaying the opening of a much needed mental health crisis unit isn’t fiscal responsibility, it’s a budget gimmick that will hurt real people out of pure politics,” said Representative Cindy Rosenwald, House Deputy Democratic Leader and a member of the House Finance Committee. “These misguided cuts from House Republicans to critical health services won’t actually produce savings for our state, they will simply lead to greater costs for our people, businesses and our economy down the road.”

House Republican Budget Cuts Would Downshift Responsibility for Road and Bridge Maintenance to Local Communities

House Finance Republicans Vote for Drastic Cuts Forcing DOT to Lay Off 50% of Workers, Turn Over 2500 Miles of Roads and 1,000 Bridges to Municipalities

CONCORD, NH – The House Finance Committee today voted to pass HB 357, downshifting responsibility for road and bridge maintenance to local communities.

The reckless bill would cut the Department of Transportation’s operating budget nearly 30 percent this year, and force DOT to lay off 692 workers – 50% of its workforce, eliminating 40% of highway maintenance jobs and 41% of bridge maintenance jobs. As a result of these devastating cuts, DOT will be forced to turn over 2,500 miles of roads and 1,000 bridges to municipalities.

“Even House Finance Chair Neal Kurk has conceded that these draconian cuts are irresponsible, yet Republicans on the House Finance Committee still voted unanimously for this amendment that would end the Department of Transportation as we know it,” said Representative Dan Eaton, Assistant Democratic Floor Leader.  “The challenges facing our Highway Fund require that we come together to make tough choices, not simply pass the buck onto local communities. When you downshift responsibility for over 2,500 miles of roads and 1,000 bridges to local communities, you will either have more dangerous roads or higher property taxes – or both.”

“The one simple question that House Republicans simply cannot answer is who will plow our roads and inspect our bridges after they’re through with these devastating cuts,” said Representative Susan Ford, Democratic Floor Leader and a member of Finance Committee. “Make no mistake, these shortsighted and misguided cuts will have a huge cost that our families, visitors and businesses will pay in lost economic output and dangerous and poorly maintained roads.”

House Republican Budget Cuts Would Threaten Landmark Bipartisan Mental Health and MET Hospitals Settlements

As Ray Burton Welcome Center is Dedicated, House Republicans Also Plan to Cut Funding for Welcome Centers and Travel and Tourism Promotion

CONCORD, NH – During Tuesday’s House Finance Division III meeting, House Republicans’ devastating cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services budget continued as they proposed cuts that would threaten two landmark bipartisan settlements.

The state’s landmark mental health and MET hospital settlements were negotiated in good faith and passed by bipartisan majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate. These bipartisan settlements protected the state’s budget, ensuring that Granite Staters have access to critical services while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

By proposing to underfund the mental health settlement by 20% ($29 million) and by cutting hospital uncompensated care reimbursements by $31 million from what was agreed to in the MET settlement, House Republicans would threaten both landmark settlements and undermine critical services for Granite Staters.

On Tuesday at the same time the Ray Burton Welcome Center on I-93 was dedicated, House Republicans continued moving forward with their “plan” to cut funding for welcome centers and slash the budget for travel and tourism in half.

“Undoing our landmark bipartisan mental health and MET settlements would not only undermine critical services for NH citizens but would also threaten our state’s budget and our bond rating,” said Representative Cindy Rosenwald, House Deputy Democratic Leader and a member of the House Finance Committee. “From jeopardizing our ability to maintain a safe transportation infrastructure to repealing health care expansion and undoing landmark settlements, House Republicans’ misguided proposals would reverse much of our bipartisan progress of the last two years.”

“Tourism is New Hampshire’s second largest industry, supporting roughly 68,000 jobs, yet House Republicans’ backward proposals would slash funding for travel and tourism in half and cut funding for welcome centers,” said House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff. “Our people, businesses and economy will pay for these shortsighted cuts just like we did as a result of the last Bill O’Brien budget.”