House Republican Leader Concerned by Democrats’ Rushed Bills, Total Disregard for Process

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement on House Democrats’ efforts to fast-track select Senate bills when the House still has over 400 House bills to process before the official crossover date of April 4th.

“First, they tried to slip SB16 in under the radar, so they could attach an ill-advised amendment to it dealing with authorizing unemployment benefits to federal employees affected by the recent government shutdown. Despite written communication from the federal government and repeated public comments advising against this provision from our own Department of Employment Security, House Democrats moved forward with a bad idea. They are doing a great job finding avenues to exploit the shutdown for political gain, and they seem to be willing to disregard customary processes and common sense as they charge down this road. Yesterday, their lack of forethought on this issue resulted in the committee needing to recess the executive session and delay action on this bill due to the volume of problems uncovered in the amendment. Haste makes waste.”

“We’ve now learned that SB1 has been introduced in the House, and I can’t believe that with all of the other business we have to complete, that they would want or need to schedule a public hearing and begin work on this very complex legislation. Sure, it’s a Democrat legislative initiative to institute this family leave income tax program, but I can’t believe we’re diverting resources and time to this legislation during such a busy week dealing with House bills. The House has yet to act on the House version of this legislation, and they’re already scheduling a public hearing on the Senate version. I just can’t see the reasoning. Where has process and common sense gone?”

Background: SB16 was introduced into the House on January 31st, the same day it was passed by the Senate. The bill originally dealt with the date for certain federal systems of data exchange. The amendment, which was distributed to the House Labor committee last week and discussed at executive session on the bill yesterday, sought to modify eligibility requirements such that those federal workers who were required to work without pay could receive state unemployment benefits. If the worker receives back pay, the worker would be required to pay back the benefits they received in a “reasonable time,” a parameter which was undefined.

SB1 will have a public hearing on Tuesday, February 22 in the House Labor committee. HB712, which received an Ought to Pass With Amendment recommendation by a party line committee vote on Wednesday, February 20, will be acted on by the full House during the House session of February 27-28, next week.

According to statistics available from the General Court website advanced bill search:

166 House bills have received have reports filed and are ready to be acted on by the full House, some of which will be referred to a second committee. 291 are still in committee, and have not been reported out by committees.


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House Republican Leader Reacts to House Committee Vote to Retain Carbon Tax Bill

Concord, NH – House Republican Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the vote by the House Science, Technology & Energy Committee on Tuesday to retain HB735, relative to carbon pricing.

“It’s disturbing to me that Democrats openly said that they want to do additional work on this $800 million per year tax bill. Whether it’s $100 million or $1 billion, they just can’t see the light, and want to move forward with this bill in some fashion, it appears. HB735 is a massive redistribution of wealth, it would dramatically raise energy and fuel prices in New Hampshire, and have a significant negative impact on our state economy. If Democrats want to continue this debate into 2020 by retaining this bill, I’m fine with that, and so were the Republicans on the committee. They can try and hide it but they can’t run away from it.”

Background:

Bill text available here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=815&txtFormat=pdf&v=current

If the plan were enacted, the Department of Environmental Services estimates revenue as follows:

Calendar Year             Tons of CO2               Equiv. Fee                   Revenue

2020                            15,000,000                  $20.00                         $300,000,000

2021                            15,000,000                  $30.75                         $461,250,000

2022                            15,000,000                  $41.77                         $626,550,000

2023                            15,000,000                  $53.05                         $795,900,000

Bills retained by committees will likely be worked on by committees in the fall, and acted on by the House in January.Testimony provided to the committee at the time of the public hearing suggested that the proposal would increase gas prices by 15-20 cents per gallon in year one, and 5-10 cents per year as the fee increases. In addition, home heating oil prices could rise as much as $1.22 per gallon. The fee/tax would also apply to other carbon based fuels including natural gas and propane. The bill seeks to rebate some of the revenue back to residents on a per capita basis, and some large industrial entities, but neglects to rebate anything back to small businesses, municipalities or school districts. If energy costs increased by 30-50%, it could have a severe impact on property taxes.

House Republican Leader Reacts To Job-Killing Minimum Wage Bills

Concord, NH- House Republican Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in advance of the public hearings on HB178, HB186, and HB731-FN all relative to the minimum wage in New Hampshire. These bills are being heard in the Labor, Industrial Services and Rehabilitation committee starting at 1:00pm on February 20th.

“At a time when New Hampshire’s economy is humming and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Nation, why House Democrats are so eager to increase the cost of doing business in New Hampshire is beyond me,” Hinch said. “A government mandated wage increase of up to 65% would have a profound negative impact on New Hampshire’s small and medium sized business community. It only encourages employers to cut jobs, cut hours, and pass the increase cost onto the consumer. New Hampshire business owners deserve better.”

“Republicans have spent the last few years focused on creating the economic conditions for businesses to thrive to ensure everyone has the opportunity to earn a decent wage. Our small business owners know what it takes to attract, retain, and reward employees, and government should stop interfering,” said Hinch. “I hope my Democratic colleagues see the light and put a stake in these job-killing bills.”

Background

HB178- establishing a minimum wage.

Bill Text:

http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=127&txtFormat=html

HB186- establishing a state minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage.

Bill Text:

http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=152&txtFormat=html

HB731-FN- relative to the minimum hourly rate. Bill Text: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=808&txtFormat=pdf&v=current

House Republican Leader Reacts to JLCAR Work Requirement Approval

Concord, NH- House Republican Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the approval by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules of the work requirement in the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Healthcare program.

“We are very pleased that the committee came together on this vote, and that the work requirement will be moving forward towards implementation. This is the type of bipartisan agreement we need on a common sense issue,” Hinch said. “We are seeing too many attempts to unravel good public policy that came about through compromise during the last two years. With all the work and thought that has gone into this process, we need to ensure the work requirement is not watered down or repealed.”

House Republican Leader’s Statement on Governor’s Budget Address

CONCORD, NH – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following Governor Sununu’s budget address on Thursday.

“Governor Sununu is staying true to core Republican principles of low taxes, responsible spending, and reforms that promote efficiencies and improve services,” Hinch said. “He understands that there is a need to keep our economy strong, and provide essential services without new taxes or fees. This is in stark contrast to what we’ve seen from Democrats in the legislature, who seem to be searching for new things to tax, and new money to spend every day. We look forward to reviewing the governor’s proposals in greater detail, but from what I heard today, he’s delivered what he promised during the campaign. We can only hope that House Democrats won’t toss his budget in the wastebasket once it’s introduced. Democrats have been talking about bipartisanship, but I was disappointed to see them remain seated following critical announcements in the governor’s speech.”