House Republican Leader Appalled by Spike in State Agency Budget Requests

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) today issued the following statement following reports that state agency heads have submitted budget requests for fiscal years 2016-17 totaling over $12.5 billion, roughly $1.9 billion or 18% more than the current operating budget.

House Republican Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“One way to show leadership in an executive role is to ensure your department heads know how to live within their means. In the context of state government, this means showing taxpayers that your team of appointees respects, cherishes, and will be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

“What we have here shows our state government’s inability to be mindful of the sensitive state our economy continues to be in. While our economy remains stagnant, state agencies are looking for a raise. Over the summer we heard Governor Hassan voice her concerns over state tax revenue, and ask agencies to pare back spending. Yet, in the blink of an eye, those same agencies are coming back with explosive growth in their spending proposals. It seems disingenuous.”

“I ask the Governor to order her agencies to produce level-funded budget requests or at least something in the realm of reasonableness. This is no time for agencies to submit their biggest wish list to Santa. We have a solemn duty to manage taxpayer dollars in a respectful manner. To ask for anything more than level funding or modest increases at this time shows disregard for the taxpayers of New Hampshire. The Governor needs to get an handle on this now.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to Supreme Court Opinion on Education Tax Credit Law

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) offered the following statement in reaction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling that upheld the School Choice Education Tax Credit program established in 2012.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“House Republicans applaud the court’s ruling and are grateful that this program will be able to facilitate more scholarships for New Hampshire students who may not otherwise be able to afford alternatives to their local public schools. We thank those who administer the scholarship program and those companies who have made generous donations to the program, for having persevered in the face of unnecessary legal opposition. The winners here are New Hampshire families and students.”

“House Republicans will continue to support and explore opportunities to enrich students’ educational experiences and find ways to enable families to make the best education choices for their children.”

Deputy House Republican Leader Comments on Governor’s Suggestion to Raise Business Taxes

CONCORD – Today Deputy House Republican Leader and member of the House Ways & Means Committee, David Hess (R-Hooksett), offered the following comments relative to Governor Hassan’s claim that business tax reforms passed during the previous legislative term, “are having a negative impact on the state’s budget.”

Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess (R-Hooksett)

“Not even the Department of Revenue Administration is ready to attribute any change in business tax or interest and dividends tax revenue to any one or particular set of causes at this time. During several meetings in the month of August, DRA officials said it is currently impossible to tell if any prior legislative changes will have any effect on our overall fiscal balance.”

“The Governor has a solution in search of a problem. Her solution is to potentially make our business tax climate less favorable than it already is, or rely on revenue from a non-existent casino when a casino is not something we could even realistically propose for this budget cycle. This is not how to encourage long term economic growth, or responsibly address what experts suggest may be a temporary revenue anomaly.”

“What we can address immediately is state spending. Until we have an more accurate picture of how our state agencies are managing the resources we’ve allocated to them, I think hitting the panic button on revenue is premature.”

House Republican Leader Reiterates Need to Address Budget Concerns

Concord – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler offered the following statement relative to concern voiced by leaders in the State Senate that state agencies may be overspending, and creating growing budget deficits as a result, while Governor Hassan and agency heads refuse to meet with budget writers to open the books and discuss the concern, citing, “incomplete information.”

“It may take time to count every penny, but when we’re in a potential crisis situation, we owe it to the people of New Hampshire to have an open and frank discussion on what appears to be a significant budget problem. We are, after all, elected to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and our citizens expect some level of transparency and accountability within our state government.”

“Every leader of every state agency should have some idea how their balance sheet will shape up, whether or not it’s finalized. They do not operate in the dark. I would hope that the Governor would allow the agency heads to meet with the legislature and comply with a simple and reasonable request to discuss how their agency is performing with the resources we’ve allocated to them. Kicking the can down the road will only lead to future budget problems.”

House Republicans Comment on ACA Related State Budget Concerns

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and House Finance Committee Ranking Republican Neal Kurk (R-Weare) offered the following comments relative to news that enrollment in the State’s traditional Medicaid program has spiked, in part due to the ACA related individual mandates, and that DHHS is facing a $37 million budget shortfall.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“For months prior to Obamacare mandates taking effect, we were warned that an enrollment surge was a likely possibility. Now we’re faced with another potential state budget breaker largely as a result of this unpopular federal law. It’s great that the federal government is picking up 50% of the cost for this pool of new enrollees, but states shouldn’t have been expected to absorb all of this excess in cost all at once. This situation is essentially an unfunded mandate, made possible by a poorly conceived law.”

House Finance Committee Ranking Republican Neal Kurk (R-Weare)

“It’s safe to say that the DHHS estimates for increased enrollment in traditional Medicaid were too low. While it’s never easy to make predictions with 100% certainty, this surge was not unexpected. Health care experts had been warning that, with all of the attention being given to ObamaCare, individuals eligible for traditional Medicaid would “come out of the woodwork” in droves. The experts were right. This is not a temporary problem. New Hampshire taxpayers will have to continue to fund the state’s share of the cost to provide care for many of these new enrollees into the foreseeable future.”

“We can only hope that enrollment estimates for the new, three-year, expanded Medicaid program don’t follow suit. That would be very expensive for taxpayers, as they must pick up 10% of the cost of the program should it be made permanent by the legislature.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to NH Ranking 30th in CNBC’s Top States for Business

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) released the following statement in reaction to CNBC’s recently published ranking of the top states to do business. CNBC ranked New Hampshire 30th in the nation to do business, slipping from 27th in 2013.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“New Hampshire’s strength has always been attracting and retaining business. This should serve as a red flag that the next legislature must work diligently to improve New Hampshire’s business climate in order to ensure the high ranking we enjoyed in previous years. Republicans have fought back as the current majority sought to suspend several business initiatives that were passed by the previous legislature, however the majority continued to over spend and over regulate businesses in New Hampshire causing us to slip from 19th to 27th in 2013 and 27th to 30th in 2014. This is unacceptable.”

“There should be a serious focus on making this state more business friendly. We should be meeting with businesses to see what they need to thrive in New Hampshire, and not pass laws based on what we think they need. We need to compete regionally and nationally in order for businesses to locate, grow and create jobs here in New Hampshire. Our long term economic viability depends on it.”