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Op-Ed: House GOP moving forward, despite Democratic opposition

Tweet it: Hinch: Common sense and pragmatism are what our constituents want and deserve.

The following op-ed by Majority Leader Dick Hinch was published Tuesday, April 25th in the Union Leader.

Constituents of New Hampshire, the reports of the demise of the Republican Caucus in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are greatly exaggerated.

If you were to believe the political gossip as of late, you might think that the failure of House of Representatives to pass a budget lies solely on the shoulders of House Republicans. But let’s be clear — a strong majority of Republicans supported both budget bills.

Why wouldn’t the majority of Republicans support a budget proposal that met a number of goals set forth in the Republican Party platform, and the House Republican agenda? These items included no new or increased taxes or fees, limiting total fund spending to no more than the rate of inflation, reform and reorganization of government agencies to be more efficient and responsive, and eliminated downshifting by proposing to send $50 million in additional aid to cities and towns and an additional $45 million in local infrastructure aid.

There is no budget that will be 100 percent favorable to any individual legislator. It isn’t easy finding the perfect balance with legislation as complex as the state budget. In the end, we are confident that with a Republican Legislature and a Republican governor, the final product will achieve many of the points the House budget sought to achieve.

There are few things that we can be certain of in the New Hampshire Legislature. The final outcome of the legislative process may not be known until the time the votes are cast in Representatives Hall. One thing we can be sure of this term is House Democrats’ ability to vote together to oppose most anything proposed by Republicans.

Ninety-six percent of House Democrats opposed the responsible House budget proposal in HB 1, and 90 percent opposed the related policy bill, HB 2. This means all but a small percentage of Democrats in the House opposed the budget approved by a bipartisan majority of the House Finance committee that included property tax relief, increased resources for alcohol and drug abuse, increased funding for services for the developmentally disabled, and increased funding for the Community College System.

Moving forward, the Republican Caucus has many important initiatives we plan on uniting behind. These include reforming our election laws to prevent drive-by voting and preserve the integrity of our elections, finding ways to reduce the cost of electricity, retaining and attracting workers to the state, expanding school choice, and making our state more competitive, helping to grow, attract and retain more jobs.

We have already had several major Republican initiatives pass the House. These include Constitutional Carry, more oversight over the University System budget, several reforms to election laws, and passing the “Croydon Bill,” which would permit school boards to assign a child to an approved nonsectarian private school if there is no public school for the child’s grade in the child’s resident district.

We have also rallied against Democrat-sponsored legislation that was contrary to our agenda, and that we believe would be wrong for New Hampshire. These include mandating a spike in the state minimum wage, repealing the education tax credit scholarship program, requiring background checks for lawful transfer of firearms, establishing an income tax, and extending the interest and dividends tax to capital gains, among many others. These are measures that many Democrats campaign on, and failed to win them a majority in the House.

We are elected by the voters of our districts to act in their best interests. We are a party with a full spectrum of positions and opinions on fiscal and social policy. Despite our variances in views, and local concerns shaping individual votes, Republicans vote together the vast majority of the time based on our belief that common sense and pragmatism are what our constituents want and deserve.

There is a lot of work left to do, and the House Republican Majority in Concord is committed to building a coalition that will ensure that our Republican principles are represented in the legislation that we pass, and the people of New Hampshire have confidence in the Legislature and their state government.

House Passes Legislation to Explore Solutions to Lower Energy Costs

CONCORD- Today, the House passed SB 125, establishing a committee to study transmission, distribution, generation, and other costs in the state’s electricity system.

House Majority Leader Rep. Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) and Member of House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee Rep. Herbert Vadney (R-Meredith) issued the following statements following today’s vote:

“New Hampshire’s electricity rates are among the highest in the nation with many factors contributing to those prices. This study will identify and evaluate ways to lower our rates and will consider grid modernization. Making our electricity cheaper will lower manufacturing costs and spur our economy.” said Rep. Vadney

“Part of the Republican legislative agenda is to find ways to lower energy costs here in New Hampshire. The committee established in the bill will look at ways to make our state more attractive to new businesses and cut costs to everyday consumers.” said House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch. “The passing of Senate Bill 125 today is just one piece of the puzzle in our legislative approach to solving this problem.”

Majority Leader Hinch Urges Support of SB3 in House Election Law Committee

CONCORD- Today, the House Election Law Committee heard testimony regarding SB 3, relative to domicile for voting purposes.

This legislation clarifies the definition of domicile for voting purposes while modifying the requirements for documenting the domicile of an individual registering to vote. SB3 will prohibit individuals who are only in the state on a temporary basis, and who maintain a voting domicile in another state, from voting here.

House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement after today’s hearing:

“New Hampshire plays an important national role in elections due to our First in the Nation status and as a battleground swing state. We have numerous elections for state representative each cycle being decided by only a few votes, and statewide elections being decided by less than a 1% margin.  In order to maintain confidence in the electoral process it is extremely important that every vote is cast by a duly qualified voter.

SB3 seeks to eliminate drive-by voting by clearly defining domicile. It will treat every voter equally and ensures everyone who shows up to the polls has an opportunity to vote if they are qualified.

I look forward to this legislation coming out of committee with an Ought to Pass recommendation so the House can act on this bill and swiftly send it to the Governor’s desk.”