House Republican Leader Reacts to Senate Tabling of Education Opportunity Tax Credit Repeal Bill

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) offered the following comment in reaction to the Senate action on HB370, a bill that would repeal the Education Opportunity Tax Credit program. The Senate voted to table the bill 13-11.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“I applaud the Senate for taking action to keep the Education Opportunity Tax Credit in place. The Education Opportunity Tax Credit is brand new and should be allowed the chance to prove itself before the legislature attempts to repeal it. Figures contained in the proposed House budget indicate that this program does not cost the State anything, therefore repealing it does not make any financial gain. Secondly, it allows parents to explore and be better able to afford education opportunities they may not otherwise have access to. Why some legislators want to take away this opportunity is beyond me. We need to make sure families have the ability to find the educational programs that best suit their children. I look forward to fighting to keep this program alive so families can share their stories once scholarships are awarded. Education choice should not be limited to wealthy families. We should have a way to lend a helping hand to less fortunate families to have those same opportunities.”

GOP Members of Joint Health Care Oversight Committee Call Out Governor Hassan on Broken Promises and Lack of Transparency

Concord, NH – Republican members of the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee today issued the following statements after disclosure from Governor Hassan’s office as well as the Department of Insurance that her administration would no longer be pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the federal government with regards to the implementation of the Health Care Exchange Partnership as was originally promised to the committee last month.  The Hassan Administration has instead indicated an intention to move forward with the proposed partnership without an agreed upon MOU.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) said:

“The Governor’s suggestion that she can single-handedly implement ObamaCare in New Hampshire without a contract or MOU of how the federal government is going to take over providing insurance to New Hampshire citizens is astonishing.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will forever change how insurance is provided to the people of this state and the Governor’s office is now deliberately pulling back on a promise to be transparent and disrespecting the legislative process.  This act of purposefully withholding details on ACA implementation only further suggests the Governor and Washington bureaucrats do not want the legislature, taxpayers, or small business owners to know the details or costs of this expansion.  New Hampshire government does not operate under the cover of darkness, and the Governor needs to bring an MOU to the Oversight Committee, as promised, showing a complete, detailed plan of how she intends to implement this costly venture.”

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) said:

“I am extremely disappointed that, after promising legislative oversight, Governor Hassan is seemingly reneging on that promise.  I am concerned a Health Care Exchange partnership will not protect taxpayers, will increase consumer confusion, and subvert New Hampshire sovereignty.  Those concerns are heightened when it appears the Governor’s office is choosing to not layout the next steps of this process in a MOU as they had earlier indicated they would.”

Representative John Hunt (R-Cheshire 11) said:

“After listening to the presentation from the Executive Branch, I conceded to considering the state enter into a partnership exchange to protect New Hampshire’s interests, specifically because the Governor’s office committed to providing an MOU to our committee which would provide complete details on how the ACA would be implemented.  Now that the Governor has refused to share an MOU, the people of this state have no idea on the cost, timing, affects and options associated with how the exchange, partnership and plan management will be enacted and operated.  It is exceptionally disturbing to see the Governor attempt to implement the ACA, void of real, honest transparency on this important issue and I do hope the Governor reconsiders such a reckless action knowing how much money, time and effort is at stake here.”

Note: The next meeting of the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9th at 8:00AM.

House Republican Leaders Comment on Passage of Fiscally Irresponsible Budget

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and Ranking Republican on the House Finance Committee, Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), offered the following comments in reaction to the passage of HB1 and HB2, the bills dealing with the State budget.

Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), House Republican Leader

“When 40,000 people in our State are looking for work, this budget will squeeze an additional $39million out of our small businesses that they would have otherwise been able to reinvest to grow and create jobs. When incomes are stagnant, this budget raises the gas tax, tobacco taxes and down shifts costs that will raise property taxes. When our roads and bridges need attention, this budget diverts and additional $27million from the highway fund to other agencies. When our economy is struggling to grow at 2% per year, this budget grows government by more than 5% per year. It’s not a logical plan to grow our economy.”

“Republicans have fought for a more affordable, more efficient and more accountable state government, but being in the minority, we don’t always win. The majority party, unfortunately, has created and passed a budget that overspends, expands government and adds taxes and fees on our already over taxed families and businesses. This is not the right direction for New Hampshire. House Republicans will continue to bring attention to what we believe are better ways to help our citizens and our economy.”

“Today, Republicans offered several amendments to make reasonable changes to the budget, all of which were defeated. Unfortunately, the majority party does not seem interested in listening to New Hampshire citizens or observing what is happening in the real world outside of Concord.”

“Our amendments included provisions to avoid downshifting costs to county governments, which would avoid higher property taxes. It was rejected. We offered to restore school building aid, which was also rejected. Amendments that would have prevented the raiding of dedicated funds, such as LCHIP, State Parks and other funds were also defeated, giving the Governor carte blanche to turn these fee based funds into taxes by funding general government. Our amendments to keep school choice tax credits and continue funding for new charter schools were denied. Lastly, our efforts to lessen increases in the tobacco tax and keep in law business tax reforms set to take effect this year fell flat. These amendments failed not because they were unreasonable or egregious, but  because the majority party doesn’t seem interested in creating jobs, a friendlier business climate, and lowering the tax burden on our citizens.”

Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), Ranking Republican on House Finance

“This budget is balanced on unrealistic revenue estimates that simply put off the eventual day of reckoning. It includes millions in increased taxes on working families and businesses that will hurt the economy and job creation. It spends 10.2% more money than the previous state budget. This budget also increases the state’s exposure to massive future liabilities as a result of expanding Medicaid. It suspends new school building aid imposes a moratorium on charter schools. It shifts costs of nursing home services to county property tax payers. It  purposefully underfunds line items that can be paid for later, outside of the more transparent budget process. We have a real concern about where this budget will lead our State. It’s unaffordable and sets us up for failure both in the short and long terms.”

House Republicans React to Committee Approval of Budget Bills

CONCORD – Today Republican Members of the House Finance Committee offered the following comments in reaction to the committee recommendations on HB1 and HB2, bills dealing with the State budget and appropriations. In separate votes, the committee voted 14-8 to send the amended versions of HB1 and HB2 to the full House.

Rep Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), House Republican Leader

“I’d like to thank the Republican members of the House Finance Committee for their tireless efforts in looking out for the taxpayers of our State. Republicans have fought for a more affordable, more efficient and more accountable state government, but being in the minority, we don’t always win. The majority party, unfortunately, has created a budget that overspends, expands government and adds taxes and fees on our already over taxed families and businesses. This is not the right direction for New Hampshire. House Republicans will continue to bring attention to what we believe are better ways to help our citizens and our economy.”

Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), House Finance Ranking Republican

“This budget is balanced on unrealistic revenue estimates and gimmicks that simply put off the day of reckoning. It includes over $70million in increased taxes that will hurt the economy and job creation. It spends 10.2% more money than the previous state budget. When the economy is growing at 2% per year, at best, and the government is growing at 5% per year, we should have a real concern about where this budget will lead our State. It’s unaffordable and sets us up for failure both in the near future and in future biennia.”

Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson), House Finance Member

“This budget cuts entirely the state’s aid for school construction for the next biennium. School building aid is vital to the safety and well being of students across the state by aiding local districts in building and renovating our aging or over crowded education facilities. The previous legislature saw the benefit of state aid for these projects. The Democrats on the committee apparently would prefer to grow our state government rather than aid localities in building 21st century facilities for our children.”

Rep. Ken Weyler (R-Kingston), House Finance Member

“This budget unfairly targets charter schools by issuing a moratorium on them and also ends the education opportunity scholarship program. By stifling charter school innovation and taking away school choice options from needy families,  it’s clear that the Democrats are looking to protect failing public schools and continue their tradition of ceding to public union interests.”

Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Intervale), House Finance Member

“I find it unbelievable that the Democrats on House Finance would vote to cede nearly all legislative discretion and allow the Governor to sweep millions of dollars out of dedicated funds to cover a budget deficit. This could affect as many as 300 state programs or agencies that rely on dedicated funds including Fish & Game, State Parks, Enhanced 911 System or even unemployment compensation. Responsible budgeting starts with transparency. This is a terrible precedent to set. When people buy into these funds via a fee or license, they expect that those dollars be used for that purpose. Why have dedicated funds if the Governor can use them as an ATM?”

House Republican Leaders Comment on Passage of Gas Tax Increase

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) offered the following comments on the passage of HB617, a bill that would raise the gas tax by 12 cents. The bill passed by a vote of 206-158.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“Before we start imposing huge tax increases we need to make sure we are complying with all current state laws and constitutional provisions to assure that the current and future gas tax revenues go towards roads and bridges. Without this fix, we are just growing government on the backs of the highway fund users.”

“Taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of New Hampshire consumers during these tough economic times is not the appropriate solution to fixing our roads and bridges. Quite simply, this is the wrong bill at the wrong time.”

House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford)

“This is yet another tax increase on the backs of those who can least afford it. We are very concerned about the impact of a gas tax increase on the working families and small businesses in our state during these tough economic times. Now is not the time to be discouraging economic growth. We need to focus on getting the 40,000 people in New Hampshire who are looking for work back to work. Further burdening our business community and forcing our consumers to pay more at the pump is a step in the wrong direction.”

House Republican Leaders React to Passage of Bill Repealing Stand Your Ground Law

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) offered the following comments on the passage of HB135, a bill that would repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law in New Hampshire. The bill passed by a vote of 189-184.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“Retreat is not something responsible New Hampshire citizens should be forced to do when faced with a deadly threat. Our right to self defense and defense of other innocent victims should not be limited to the walls in which we reside. Claims that current law would result in increased violence are unfounded. Our citizens should not be asked to risk life and limb in retreat simply because there are a handful of thugs who might try and abuse this law. I’m deeply disappointed that the House would vote to restrict the rights of our people and give the benefit of doubt to violent attackers. It’s simply unconscionable.”

“How high does the cliff have to be to ensure a safe retreat? Two feet? Four feet? Six feet? Do we really expect this decision to be made while under the threat of violence?”

House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford)

“Telling law abiding citizens they need to turn their backs on an attacker and run away instead of defending themselves or their loved ones is entirely the wrong message. The people of New Hampshire have a natural and basic human right to protect themselves wherever they happen to be, not just in the confines of their home. As a woman, I am dismayed that I will be forced to hesitate and take invaluable time away from protecting myself.  Those seconds could mean the difference between life and death.”