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Would you buy a new, more expensive home with your one-time bonus
from work or based on income you can’t reasonably expect to receive? Sure, you
might be able to pay the bills for a few months, but what happens when your
pipe dream money plan dries up? You’ve dug yourself into a financial hole and
you’ll have to make severe cutbacks. That’s just what House and Senate
Democrats have done with their state budget proposal this year.
You’ve probably heard that Governor Sununu vetoed the Democrats’
budget. I support him for doing so. In his veto message he said, “New Hampshire
families know they have to live within their means and they have every right to
expect their government to do the same.” I couldn’t agree more. Democrats have
built a budget based on inflated tax revenue expectations, and using one-time
revenue to grow government not just now, but perpetually. That’s a recipe for
disaster, and will undoubtedly create a budget deficit in the not too distant
By Rep. Mike Harrington
In the recent state legislative session, three bills were passed that if they become law, will restrict the Second Amendment rights of New Hampshire residents.
House Bill 109 would impose universal background checks on the sale of firearms. Under present law, all commercial sales of firearms (ones done through a licensed dealer) require a background check. HB 109 would extend this to include any “transfer of ownership of a firearm, including but not limited to, a sale, exchange, or gift.” What does transfer of ownership mean? There are no titles for firearms like there is for cars so what determines ownership? What if I loan someone a firearm? I still own the firearm but does this require a background check by a licensed dealer? What if I rent someone a firearm?
By: Rep. Dick Hinch
This past December, Rep. Stephen Shurtleff won the election for House speaker, and I wished my friend the best. He accepted his nomination by saying, “it’s important to put partisanship aside to work for the common good of our people…” I couldn’t agree more. Government works best when parties work together to produce the best policies possible for our state. However, Republicans have been extremely disappointed by how the opposite has occurred. This session has been marred by disorganization, partisanship, and rushed, heavy-handed policy.
Tweet it: Hinch: Common sense and pragmatism are what our constituents want and deserve. https://ctt.ec/Nd9uc+
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. (more…)
3 Democrats joined with 98% of House Republicans to pass HB557, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools, by a vote of 186-163.
House Education Committee Chair Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill): “There is no provision in our constitution or on the long line of Claremont cases that only public schools are constitutionally adequate. Private schools which are one of the options that a school district such as Croydon could send their students to are also adequate schools. Private schools provide an opportunity for many students that they have not been able to find in the public schools. But more than that, private schools are supported adamantly by parents, if parents weren’t sending their kids to a private school that would me it’s not a good school. A lot of public schools that are noted as adequate but are failing as well as private schools and this presents the choice the choice of the school district that doesn’t have certain grade to tuition their students to a school that provides a great education, not just an adequate one. It may be a private school but it may also be a public one. Addressing the issue of access cost, the contract between the sending school and the receiving school is established by the school board. They negotiate the contract for the tuition of the student. That’s the amount of money that is paid to the receiving school by the school district. Parents don’t have to pay for anything.” (more…)
In November of 2014, New Hampshire voters elected Republican majorities to the House of Representatives and the state Senate. For the last 20 months, our citizen Legislature has been working to produce results, and govern in a responsible manner that our state and its citizens can be proud of.
At the time of the last election, our state’s economy was still emerging from recession. We heard from business owners and employees that in order to shift New Hampshire’s economy into the 21st century, we needed to stop claiming we were business friendly, and start acting like we actually mean business.
Study after study placed our state in among the highest in the nation for our corporate tax rates, and we knew this demanded action. We are proud to say that the Republican Legislature passed the first business tax relief in 20 years. These cuts reduce the burden on businesses that employ the majority of New Hampshire workers, enabling them to grow, invest, and create more jobs. We did this despite Gov. Maggie Hassan’s ill-informed veto, and her claims that our state budget revenues would be irreparably damaged. In fact, we’ve seen growth in business tax revenue.
Despite our low unemployment rate, more than 100,000 of our residents still commute out-of-state for their jobs. We need to foster a competitive tax and regulatory environment to bring those jobs here and make New Hampshire a magnet for economic opportunity.
Over the last two years, the Republican Legislature has passed an array of legislation that protects businesses from unfair tax treatment when they go public or acquire new investment capital, expanded the Research and Development Tax Credit, reformed Workers’ Compensation laws, simplified the tax-filing process for businesses, and increased deductions for purchases of capital and equipment, among many other pro-business bills.
Regulation and tax reform is only part of the solution. A modernized economy requires an educated workforce and lower energy costs. We increased funding to our university and community college systems, ensuring they have resources to produce affordable education options for the next generation of our workforce, and ensuring we have the skilled workers needed to attract and retain businesses and jobs.
We realized that action was necessary to address the many facets of our state’s drug and opioid addiction epidemic. Included in the Republican Legislature’s state budget proposal, was a substantial increase in funding to programs dealing with addiction treatment and recovery. In total, we included $42 million in our state budget, a 75 percent increase, to ensure our state agencies and providers had access to more resources. The governor vetoed the budget bills with this additional funding, but we were relieved when Democrats joined with us to overturn her veto, and move forward with our proposals.
We didn’t stop once the budget was passed. In late 2015, the Republican Legislature formed the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic, comprised of legislative leaders from the House and Senate with policy expertise and personal or professional backgrounds in the fields associated with the many aspects of this crisis. We reviewed dozens of proposals, enabled a fast-track legislative process, and focused our collective attention through the legislative session on additional bills. This year alone we’ve passed legislation that touches all three major areas of the crisis, including education and prevention, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement and interdiction.
In 2015, 439 New Hampshire citizens lost their lives because of illicit drug use. If there has ever been such compelling evidence that the Legislature must address this crisis by whatever means we can, I’m not aware of it. The package of legislation we passed this year may not be the solution to permanently end the crisis. But if we can save lives, if we can take drugs off of our streets, and if we can expand access to treatment and recovery, we believe it is of paramount importance to our state.
When it comes to addressing the problems voters send us here to solve, I believe we’ve demonstrated an ability to overcome partisan rhetoric and deliver meaningful results. We look forward to continuing our conversation with voters in the coming months to ensure we continue to be responsive to their concerns, act as responsible stewards of their tax dollars, and as responsible representatives of their state government.
Rep. Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, is the New Hampshire House Majority Leader.