SESSION NOTICE: The next House session will be Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. This could be a long day, so please plan accordingly. If we do not finish action on the remaining Senate bills Wednesday, please reserve Thursday, May 12th, as well. The House will meet on Thursday, May 19th, and on Wednesday, June 1st, at which time it is anticipated that the House will complete action on committee of conference reports.

CAUCUS NOTICE: There will be a Republican caucus on Wednesday, May 11th at 9:00 a.m. in Representatives Hall.

House Majority Leader Comments on April Revenue Report

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments relative to the monthly report of state revenues indicating business tax revenue continued to perform above expectations. In the report business taxes performed 14.5% above plan.

“The fiscally responsible Republican budget and revenue plan continue to meet and exceed expectations. At the outset of this legislative term, House Republicans were adamant about building our budget on conservative revenue estimates to protect taxpayers. We were able to fund New Hampshire’s priorities on those estimates, without raising a single tax or fee in the budget, and build the foundation for continued economic growth,” said Hinch.

“Less than one year ago, Governor Hassan admonished the business tax cuts contained in the Republican budget, and by her veto, demonstrated her lack of foresight on this issue. Not only have her claims of massive budget holes been roundly disproven, the opposite is happening,” Hinch added. “The legislature is moving forward in a cautious manner as we prioritize where any additional funds might be utilized. Addressing our state’s continuing drug crisis and rebuilding our Rainy Day Fund are very important. The governor has come to us with a shopping cart full of spending proposals, but before we think about heading to the checkout, we’re looking at what is necessary and what is possible.”

House Majority Leader Responds to Governor’s Requests for New Spending

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments in response to correspondence from Governor Hassan to Speaker Shawn Jasper and Senate President Chuck Morse outlining proposals on how to allocate potential surplus revenue.

“Let’s remember that the governor vetoed the legislature’s budget last year which delayed deployment of much needed resources to help combat the drug crisis. We need to be reassured that there is a management plan in place to make sure the currently allocated resources are being fully utilized and are producing positive outcomes before we commit to a laundry list of other spending,” said Rep. Hinch, “Our Ways and Means and Finance committees are actively reviewing the merits of several legislative proposals dealing with issues the governor discusses in her letter, but our revenue position for the entire biennium remains to be seen. That is why we are not committed to rolling out the rubber stamp until we weigh some important factors.”

“We are fully committed to allocating the necessary resources to continue to combat the drug crisis, but we shouldn’t play shell games in how we pay for them. We believe the legislature’s role is to be stalwart stewards of state finances. In that role we’ll continue to look towards those items we believe will have the greatest impact and produce positive outcomes,” Hinch added, “We’d like to believe the governor in that bipartisanship led us to our current economic outlook, but her record shows otherwise. Less than one year ago, the governor admonished and vetoed the legislature’s budget that contained no new taxes or fees, doubled the balance of the Rainy Day Fund, and provided the first business tax relief in 20 years. We believe this tax relief will play a major role in keeping New Hampshire more economically competitive and keeping our economy growing.”

House Majority Leader Statement on Unemployment Rate for March

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following statement on the release of March employment data by the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security. According to the release, the March 2016 unemployment rate decreased to 2.6 percent. New Hampshire’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2016 was 2.6 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage.

“This is another encouraging sign for our state’s economy, and an indication that responsible Republican leadership in Concord is producing meaningful results,” said Hinch. “We may be among the lowest states when it comes to unemployment, but there is still work to do when it comes to sustaining a positive economic trajectory, and ensuring our state has the tools it needs to attract new jobs.”

“One major Republican initiative is the reduction of our business tax burden that will enable more reinvestment and further job creation. Our budget lowered business taxes for the first time in 20 years, and prescribes another modest reduction in the near future. This tax relief will help increase our competitive edge, and help grow and sustain a 21st century economy in New Hampshire,” added Hinch.

NH House, Senate leaders urge congressional delegation to obtain approval for NHHPP work requirements

Concord, NH – Today, House and Senate leaders called on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support the waiver application, including the work requirement provisions outlined in HB 1696 signed into law yesterday, that is being prepared by the State’s Department of Health and Human Services

“By including work requirements in a bill that passed by a large margin in both the House and Senate, and became law just yesterday, it is clear that the legislature supports this personal responsibility measure and will work to ensure that those receiving benefits as part of the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan [NHHPP] who can work, should work in order to continue receiving benefits,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley.  “We ask our congressional delegation to lead the fight in Washington to help New Hampshire obtain approval from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [CMS] to be the pilot program for a reasonable, responsible work requirement program as part of the NHHPP in our state.”

“In New Hampshire, we take our ‘First in the Nation’ status very seriously when it comes to presidential elections, and the nation looks to us for direction on who is a viable leader for our country, and what policies are pragmatic and can move our nation forward,” said House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson). “This status shouldn’t be limited to picking candidates. We are positioned to lead in this very important policy area. The people of New Hampshire support implementation of work requirements in order to receive benefits, and our representatives in Washington have a fiduciary duty to do what they can to make sure the state is authorized to carry forward this important program as intended by language in HB 1696.”

“We believe with the proper advocacy in Washington, we will be better positioned for our program to receive a green light. The people of New Hampshire and their elected leaders in Concord need our congressional delegation to take the ball and run with it,” said House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack). “We ask Senators Ayotte and Shaheen, and Representatives Guinta and Kuster to join us in our endeavor to implement this reasonable personal responsibility measure into a program benefiting almost 50,000 low income citizens.”

Background: HB 1696, requesting a modification of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program passed the State Senate on March 31 by a 16-8 vote after passing the House by a 216-145 vote on March 9. The bill aims to extend the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan through December of 2017 utilizing federal Medicaid expansion funds, with in-state hospitals and insurance carriers picking up the balance of the cost of care. As a result, HB 1696 contains no new taxes or fees, and does not utilize any state general funds.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has yet to approve work requirement programs from other states, and has not publically indicated a position or likely outcome on the New Hampshire waiver application.

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