SESSION NOTICE:

The House will meet for session on Tuesday, March 19th at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 20th at 10:00 a.m., and Thursday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m. if necessary.

CAUCUS NOTICE: 

There will be a Republican caucus on Tuesday, March 19th at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB.

There will be a Republican caucus on Wednesday, March 20th at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB.

 There will be a Republican caucus on Thursday, March 21st at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB.

House Republican Leader Reacts to Positive Employment, Business Tax Data

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following review of the state’s monthly employment report released last week, which continued to show a strong economy and continued declines in the number of people looking for work in New Hampshire. In addition the monthly Revenue Focus report issued today by the Department of Administrative Services showed that business tax revenue continues to outperform estimates.

“In the midst of continued positive data on our state’s economy, Democrats in Concord are prepared to turn their backs on promises that we made to job creators on taxes, and regulations,” Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) said. “Make no mistake about it, our economy is benefiting from the positive effects of business tax reform championed by Republicans over the last 2 to 4 years. Rather than charge ahead with our current law that is producing positive results, we’re seeing efforts to repeal those business tax rate reductions, institute a new capital gains tax, mandate artificially high wages, and implement a flawed family leave program that will be funded by a ‘tax on wages’. The bottom line is that Democrats are willing to risk stalling our economy to grow government.”

According to the February revenue report, “Business Taxes for February totaled $24.2 million, which were $8.0 million (49.4%) above plan. YTD business tax collections are above plan by $151.2 million (48.3%) and $101.5 million (28.0%) above the prior year.”

According to the jobs report looking at January, “Seasonally adjusted estimates for January 2019 placed the number of employed residents at 746,270, an increase of 1,040 from the previous month and an increase of 8,520 from January 2018. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 70 over-the-month to 18,310. This was 1,910 fewer unemployed than in January 2018. From December 2018 to January 2019, the total labor force increased by 970 to 764,580. This was an increase of 6,610 from January 2018.”

State, Federal Agency Letters Pop Dems’ Balloon on Rushed Amendment to Exploit Shutdown

CONCORD – House Labor committee chair Rep. Brian Sullivan (D-Grantham) forwarded an email (below) containing letters from the US Department of Labor and the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security on Sunday, which both discouraged the committee from considering an amendment to SB16, which would have attempted to pay state unemployment benefits to certain furloughed federal workers due to the amendment’s conflicts with federal law.

SB16 is scheduled for a continued executive session on Wednesday, March 6, where Sullivan, after reviewing the letters, has instructed his committee members to, “vote down the amendment.”

House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the guidance from the state and federal agencies, and Rep. Sullivan’s change of heart on the amendment:

“For the last month, House Democrats have been pushing forward with this ill-advised idea despite repeated warnings. I’m thankful that the chairman has apparently taken the advice from the state and federal agencies, and will not put our state in danger of being in conflict with federal law, or unnecessarily draining the unemployment insurance trust fund.

Rep. Hinch first criticized the proposal the process after the amendment was circulated to Labor committee members. In a statement, on February 22, he said in part:

“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. 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.”

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 during the week of February 11,  and discussed at executive session on the bill on February 21, 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.

Attachments:

Letter from NH Department of Unemployment Security to Chairman Sullivan

Letter from US Department of Labor to Commissioner George Copadis

Copy of Rep. Sullivan amendment to SB16


From: Sullivan, Brian
Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2019 4:22 PM
To: ~House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services
Subject: FW: SB 16 Proposed amendment dealing with Ui benefits for federal workers

Good afternoon,

Spending part of Sunday afternoon preparing for the week. In reviewing the letter that I received from Deputy Commissioner Lavers, I am realizing that he sent it only to me and not to the full committee. I apologize for not forwarding it to you folks sooner.

In addition, I have received a copy of another letter from the US Dept of Labor. It also is attached to this letter.

In reviewing both letters I have concluded that regardless of the merits of the proposed amendment, it seems clear that a fiscal note would be needed and a second committee would most certainly have been involved. I am therefor going to recommend to the committee that we vote down the amendment and pass the underlying bill.

We can discuss this on Wednesday, but I just wanted to give a heads up so you can keep this in mind as you prepare for your week

Brian Sullivan

New Hampshire State Representative

Sullivan District 1

Representing Cornish, Grantham, Plainfield and Springfield

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on HB686

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB686, extending the interest and dividends tax to capital gains. The bill passed by a 199-143 vote.

“New Hampshire has gone it’s entire history without a tax on capital gains. Democrats decided that today was the day to move forward with this new tax that could cost $100 million per year. This is a tax on investment, risk taking, and business creation. I can’t imagine this will help our robust business start-up community in the state, and it will discourage new companies from looking to New Hampshire to build and grow. I’m sorry to see such a lack of foresight by Democrats on this issue, and I apologize to our state’s investors and entrepreneurs that Republicans could not stop this bill at this stage of the process.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on HB623

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB623, relative to the rates of the business profits tax and business enterprise tax. The bill passed by a 200-141 vote.

“House Ways & Means chair Susan Almy tells us there is a real threat of a recession, and that’s why Democrats feel they need to go back on our state’s promise to lower our business tax rates. There is no economic philosophy that suggests that higher taxes help stave off an economic downturn. This must be a new theory called Almynomics,” House Republican Leader Dick Hinch said. “The real data doesn’t lie. Our economy is booming in part because of the lower business tax rates. The last thing we need is to take the momentum away by dismantling the progress we’ve made in our business climate. Business will have no faith in predictability of NH legislature to protect them long term, and our ability to compete regionally for growth and development will be severely diminished.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on HB682

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB682, establishing a water resources fund in the department of environmental services and charging certain application and permit fees. The bill passed by a 201-147 vote.

“This bill establishes pricey new fees, and doubles and triples some other existing fees. I have a real problem with the Democrats’ efforts in this bill to go outside of the budget process to raise $3 million in fees to grow government. Even more of a problem is that this bill seeks to take away authority of the legislature to review and set future fee modifications, and gives that authority to the commissioner through the administrative rules process. This sets a bad precedent and suggests that departments like DoT should be able to adjust the gas tax. We need to keep department budget requests in the budget, and we need to keep fee and tax setting in the hands of the elected legislature, and not department bureaucrats. Where will these shenanigans stop?”

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on Family Leave Income Tax Bill

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB712, relative to a family and medical leave insurance program. The bill passed by a 199-133 vote.


“We have a caucus of Democrats who want to increase wages, but at the same time are creating new programs to tax those wages, like the proposal in this bill. Between the uncertainty in our business taxes rates, the threat of increased regulations and mandates, it seems like the Democrats want to tell our small businesses what they can afford, who they can hire, and what benefits they need to provide,” Republican Leader Dick Hinch said. “Our state’s job creators know what it takes to attract and retain employees in this tight labor market. Many of our state’s employers can already provide similar coverage if they think it’s right for their workers. The importance here is the power of choice. The governor’s plan gives them the opportunity to opt-in to a program provide this benefit, while the Democrats’ program mandates it. Apparently, Democrats have chosen to disregard the vocal disapproval of the bill from groups like the Business and Industry Association.

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on HB564

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB564, relative to possession of firearms in safe school zones. The bill passed by a 194-154 vote.

“This bill would make any public or private property where a school activity might be happening a gun free zone, including extracurricular activities in parks, town commons, museums, or other public areas. Republicans on the Education committee agreed unanimously that it would be impossible for citizens to know when or if they were in a safe school zone, and put law abiding gun owners in the position of being in violation of this law. It’s unconstitutional, and it is a gun restriction bill disguised as a safe school bill. The New Hampshire School Boards Association opposed the bill, as did a number of groups who oppose these types of bills that chip away at gun owners rights.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on HB184

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB184, relative to the calculation of kindergarten students in the average daily membership and repealing prorated kindergarten funding based on Keno revenues. The bill passed by a 203-148 vote.

“House Democrats are the party of bait-and-switch this year. Several bipartisan compromises, including this keno-funded kindergarten grant program, were the result of negotiations and compromises by both parties,” said House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack). “Just like their about-face on business taxes and the Medicaid expansion work requirement, they want to walk away from this program, just before 29 more towns have a vote on keno this year. 66 other towns already have keno, and voters may have been moved to adopt it to support this kindergarten program. It doesn’t make sense to walk away now. As more towns approve keno and more establishments come on line, revenue will increase, and there should not be a need repeal this worthwhile funding mechanism.”

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.


1

N.H Employment Chief Warns Against Paying Benefits To Federal Workers on Furlough
 
N.H. aid to furloughed federal workers may run afoul of the law

Officials say N.H. shutdown fix could irk federal government

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.

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